Indiana ended its nonconference slate with a bang against Bowling Green on Friday evening.
Indiana shot 14-25 as a team from 3-point range, 8(!!!) of which belonged to Sara Scalia, who just couldn’t seem to miss with a shooting percentage of 72%(!!!!!!!) from deep on the night. All while holding Bowling Green to just 35 points on 14 made field goals.
It’s worth nothing that the Falcons’ starting point guard and leading scorer, Lexi Fleming, went down with an injury a few minutes into the first half and wasn’t able to return. This team lost to South Carolina 93-62 which, strange as it may sound, is an accomplishment.
The nonconference has come to a close and Big Ten play lays ahead. Here’s three things:
Chloe Moore-McNeil running the offense
Moore-McNeil’s name hasn’t been brought up as much as you’d think given her play. She’s not the one lighting the scoreboard on fire necessarily, but she’s still why it happens.
She’s made smart plays with the ball in her hands running the offense throughout the season and that was especially true today. On defense? She was diving for loose balls and keeping the perimeter locked down. She’d probably have a few more assists if it weren’t for some whistles.
Head coach Teri Moren was perfectly happy with all of that. But she wants to see a bit more aggression on the offensive end for Moore-McNeil, who finished with 9 points off of three made 3-pointers.
She has the length and ability to score with the ball in her hands, Moren said, and she’s reminded her of that on the sideline all season.
“When I say scorer, I mean she needs to be able to be a double-digit scorer for us, night in and night out” Moren said. “She’s more than capable of that with her ability because she’s quick, she’s long, she can play at three levels. She can get to the rim, she has a nice pull-up game, she certainly can hit threes.”
The impact of Lilly Meister
Lilly Meister is getting more minutes off the bench in relief of Mackenzie Holmes. Partially to keep Holmes healthy but watching her play proves she’s absolutely earned them.
Her length, listed at 6’3” like Holmes, creates more than a few problems on defense. She can reach over her assignment to snag rebounds, discourage driving for the rim and swat a shot once it’s in the air.
She doesn’t get a lions’ share of attempts on offense but makes the most of the ones she does. She was there for the pass when Yarden Garzon was double-teamed in the post and got a putback off a miss both in the first half.
Indiana’s going to need that in Big Ten play. One high-level center on defense is great but two would be massive.
Freshmen are going to need to contribute
Indiana was in a bit of a bind early when both Parrish and Garzon picked up some early fouls and had to come out of the game before the conclusion of the first quarter. In stepped Lenee Beaumont and Jules LaMendola.
Each have had their moments through the nonconference slate and it’s obvious that they’re significantly more comfortable on a college court now than they were two months ago. Which is great news for Moren’s club, now and down the line.
When asked about the defense in her postgame press conference, Moren brought up the two freshmen unprompted.
“We’re watching Beau and we’re watching Jules grow right before out eyes,” Moren said. “That’s been such a great thing for us.”
The Hoosiers don’t have the largest roster, they have multiple unfilled scholarship spots. They’re not taking just anybody through the portal, the fit has to be there and the sole addition this past offseason was Currie-Jelks.
Each of Beaumont and LaMendola were hustling for rebounds and dishing out assists. The former was the only scorer, with 8, but the latter still found ways to impact the game whenever she saw the floor.
Again, the Hoosiers are going to need that all year.