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Indiana basketball season in review: Sara Scalia

The Minnesota transfer took a new role and ran with it in 2022-23

Michigan State v Indiana Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Sara Scalia had the most interesting arc of any Hoosier during the 2022-23 season.

Sara Scalia was heralded as one of the best three-point shooters in the Big Ten during her three years at Minnesota and received high praise and expectations when she announced she’d be transferring to Indiana.

Our Scalia preview from last June provides a ton of the context needed to understand the ups and downs of No. 14’s first season in Bloomington.

Scalia began the season as a starter and was as good as advertised through the early portion of the season. She averaged 14.8 points-per-game through Indiana’s first four games and hit multiple triples in each.

She continued to score double-digit points nightly until Indiana’s first conference game in December when she went 0-5 from deep and managed just six points against Illinois. This contest marked the beginning of a shooting slump that ran through much of the season.

Despite losing All-American honorable mention guard Grace Berger to a knee injury for nearly two months, Indiana’s offense continued to run smoothly and generate quality shots for Scalia... they just weren’t going in.

It was odd to watch. Scalia would make a great drive to the basket only to watch a layup rim-out or see a good look from the arc just not fall like they normally do. Hoosier fans, and Teri Moren, kept the faith though.

With Grace Berger back to 100% in early January, Teri Moren made the decision to leave junior guard Sydney Parrish in the starting lineup and started bringing Scalia in off the bench.

Being sent to the bench is never easy, but Sara embraced the new role well and turned into a dependable sixth player that could log big minutes if needed.

A trio of great performances at Michigan (3-5 3PT, 19 pts), at Ohio State (9-12 FG, 24 pts), and against Michigan State (4-6 3PT, 20 pts) in the Big Ten Tournament proved that she’s still absolutely capable of catching fire. Scalia also played well in her return to Minnesota on 2/01. The fans in Minneapolis gave her the what-for but Scalia’s Hoosier teammates stood up for her and called the fans out postgame. 2022-23 was the best season in program history, and Scalia was a big part of it. Don’t ever forget that.

When it was all said and done, Scalia ended the season third on the team in three-point percentage (34.4%) and makes (53). Minnesota’s all-time free throw percentage leader continued to be automatic from the stripe, leading Indiana by hitting free throws at a 91.2% clip. Said consistent shooting in addition to a couple of big games down the stretch earned SS an All-Big Ten honorable mention nod last month.

Defensively, Scalia improved over the course of the season. She finished the year with three blocks and 27 steals and performed admirably in one-on-one defense which was especially apparent the couple times she got switched onto Caitlin Clark against Iowa. Scalia making a key defensive play usually elicited a big reaction from the Indiana bench... expect more of that next season.

With the departure of Grace Berger, who was selected by Indiana Fever in the WNBA draft earlier this week, the Hoosiers have a starting backcourt slot to fill before November. Copious amounts of guard talent in the incoming freshman class and rising sophomores lead me to think there’ll be a competition, but as of right now Scalia’s got the inside track. The starting five who took the floor during Berger’s absence played well and will only continue to get better with a full offseason to build chemistry.