It was a solid year one in an Indiana uniform for Lilly Meister. The freshman forward appeared in 31 of 32 games, averaging 6.5 minutes and 2.4 points per.
Meister entered the season as Indiana’s third forward behind senior starter Mackenzie Holmes and graduate transfer Alyssa Geary. Many expected junior Kiandra Browne to also factor into the frontcourt rotation, but injuries kept her sidelined for the majority of the season, leaving more minutes for Meister.
The Minnesota-born first year used a career-high ten point performance against Morehead State on 11/11 to showcase her offensive prowess and gain the coaching staff’s trust. She continued to show flashes of promise in nonconference play and earned the role of being Indiana’s first forward off the bench by the time the Big Ten slate rolled around.
Her efforts culminated in Meister earning her first career start in Indiana’s NCAA tournament first round matchup with Tennessee Tech. She scored 7 points in addition to recording four rebounds and a career-high three blocks in the Hoosier victory. She played 20 minutes of solid basketball in that one, again showing her ability to run the floor and serve as an effective scorer within Indiana’s offense.
Making any sort of sweeping declaration on Meister after this season is pretty difficult because we rarely saw her on the court for more than a minute or two at a time. Most of Meister’s playing time came in quick spurts while Mackenzie Holmes caught her breath... usually for a possession or two on either end.
Things seem to be trending in the right direction though, as those short stints taught us that Meister’s playstyle is honestly very similar to that of Holmes.
She’s athletic, gets up and down the floor well and has solid post moves. Meister still has room to grow as a defender but as a freshman playing in the best conference in the country that’s totally expected.
With Mackenzie Holmes returning for a fifth year, Meister will likely be the first big off the bench again in 2023-24. She has a tremendous work ethic, always trying to get into the gym for extra drills, so she projects to take on a larger role for the Hoosiers moving forward.