Sara Scalia was a particularly compelling addition to Indiana’s roster last offseason.
Indiana went from a team with one pretty reliable shooter to being a legitimate threat from the arc at multiple spots in just one cycle. Scalia, who shot x from deep in her final year at Minnesota, deserved a lot of credit for that on paper.
She eventually moved to the bench last year with Sydney Parrish, a fellow transfer from that class, taking on a starting role. There was a bit of a slump but it was obvious Scalia would take a step in year two once she got the system down on both ends of the court.
Instead, Scalia burst onto the scene.
Head coach Teri Moren was almost exasperated following Scalia’s 32 point performance against Bowling Green on Friday. The points are great, but Moren made sure to mention her effort and overall play on defense.
“I thought Sara Scalia was super, she was special,” Moren said after the game. “As well as she shot it from beyond the arc I thought she was as good defensively.”
The 3-point shooting has absolutely been there, especially on Friday. Scalia appeared to be just short of automatic from deep, hitting a mind-boggling 8-11 clip off the dribble and catch.
Each time she hit one on Friday a smile instantly spread across her face. She stayed in rhythm for all 40 minutes of the game and the Hoosiers kept getting the ball in her hands any way they could.
“It’s so much fun,” Chloe Moore-McNeil said “I think that’s really the universal rule, feed the hot hand. We have a great shooter and when she’s hot like that, you’ve gotta get her the ball.”
But everyone saw that coming. The sheer versatility? Consistency? Scalia averaged 9.5 points, 3 rebounds and 1.6 assists coming off the bench last year. Her last year at Minnesota was 17.9, 4.3 and 1.9.
Now, as Indiana exits the nonconference? 14.9, 4.1 and 2.6. Factor in that she’s been on the bench late in blowout wins, she’s played an average of just three more minutes per game than last year so far.
She’s been more than capable of pushing the ball down the court on the fastbreak, driving to the cup from the arc or in transition and facilitating if the shot isn’t there for her. She looks more like the Scalia at Minnesota.
Her spot at Minnesota had her as one of the clear cut best guards in the Big Ten. She’s reclaimed that this year and potentially then some. A performance like the one she had Friday should give her some national buzz.
For now, Indiana has to be glad it was on the other end of a big game for Scalia in Assembly Hall after she dropped 38 points and seven 3-pointers on them in a Gophers uniform back in 2022.
Moren never panics when Scalia has an off night and it’s because of games like those.
“It was fun to watch,” Moren said. “I’m just happy and proud of her. Nobody is in the gym and works more and has gotten not just thousands but millions and millions of those shots she works on daily outside of practice, before practice. It was kind of cool to be over there on the sideline and be able to enjoy it.”