Indiana had a pretty clear goal this offseason and preseason: protect Mackenzie Holmes.
It was the reason it added Sharnecce Currie-Jelks in the portal and why Lilly Meister will be a vital piece to the Hoosiers’ success in her sophomore year. Injuries in the frontcourt caught up to them down the stretch last season and Teri Moren was well aware of that.
Holmes’ minutes as of late have been a bit too many for Moren’s comfort, she said postgame. Meister, coming off the bench, played 20 minutes in her stead as part of the gameplan.
“It’s great to be able to play her more minutes, she deserves them,” Moren said.
She ended up out-doing the star senior in one statistical category, pulling in 7 rebounds to Holmes’ 3. That number was good for second on the team behind Sydney Parrish’s 10.
Meister is reliable in that respect, Moren said, going after rebounds with her length and playing solid on defense. She’s capable of running the floor in transition, boxing out and doing the little things that don’t necessarily jump off a box score.
There was a play in the second half when Meister stood her ground on defense and got up to send a shot into the stands that drew gasps from fans. She finished the game with two blocks.
One thing that just about all fives develop after working with Moren and associate head coach Rhet Wierzba is touch around the rim. It’s what makes Holmes elite and you can see it coming along in Meister’s case. She made both of her two attempts from the field on the afternoon.
“I’m very, very pleased with the minutes that we got out of Lilly today and how she took advantage of them,” Moren said.