Indiana women’s basketball is going Greek. Thanks to the efforts of IU Athletics’ Women’s Excellence initiative, the 2023 Big Ten Champions are spending the first ten days of August abroad, taking in the sights and culture Greece has to offer. The excursion is the Hoosiers’ first foreign tour in six years and features two exhibition games, the first of which saw the Hoosiers defeat Greek All Stars 120-50 earlier this evening in Athens.
All three of us were able to catch the stream on YouTube and were thoroughly impressed by IU’s performance. The offseason makes it easy to forget how much fun this team is and being able to watch today was an unexpected surprise. Here are some quick hitters from the Hoosiers’ (unofficial) 70 point victory:
The starting five in the first “game” of the post-Grace Berger era? Five returners.
Parrish, Bargesser, Meister, Scalia, and Moore-McNeil are the first five on the floor for #iuwbb in Greece— crimson quarry (@crimsonquarry) August 3, 2023
Senior guard Sydney Parrish finished with a 22 point, 10 rebound double-double in just 20 minutes of playing time. She was quite decisive with the ball, either getting a 3-point shot off (6-10 from deep) or moving it to a teammate (2 assists) whenever she had it. Parrish also recorded a vintage loose ball dive in the fourth when the game was very much decided. Some things never change! She was the best player on the court tonight.
Senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil, the most underrated player in the Big Ten, is sporting a new hairstyle and looks both taller and stronger than last season. She had 5, 5, and 5 in 23 minutes and was active as ever off-ball. A pretty cross-court assist on a Jules LaMendola three was CMM’s best play of the night.
Senior guard Sara Scalia was the big benefactor of Indiana’s offensive ball movement. The sharpshooter finished with 15 points and was 5-10 from 3. Additionally, Scalia tallied four assists and attempted just two shots from within the 3-point line.
Sophomore guard Lex Bargesser has shed the knee brace. Thanks to a high school ACL/MCL tear, Bargesser had to spend her first season in Bloomington with a big ole’ brace around her left leg. The bulky contraption was necessary for recovery purposes but seemed to limit Bargesser’s mobility at times last season— I’d bet she was real happy to leave it stateside. Today she sported nothing more than some tape around her upper shin and looked like the elite athlete she’d been recruited as. Bargesser shot 8-10 from the field (17 points) and added four assists, four steals, and a block. The CQ Hivemind is high on Bargesser’s defensive prowess and ability to run the break.
Sophomore guard Yarden Garzon had 13 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 0 jetlag issues against Greek All Stars. Garzon spent the summer in Israel, her native country, and met up with the rest of the team in Greece yesterday. Athens and Ra’anana, Garzon’s hometown, are both seven hours ahead of Bloomington.
Redshirt senior center Arielle Wisne and sophomore forward Lilly Meister combined to play 26 minutes at the 5. Meister had an 11 point, 11 board double-double. She gets better with every minute spent on the floor.
As we’ve been saying all summer, the newbies are going to be great, too. Get excited for this class. I liked that all three checked in for the first time together!
LaMendola, Beaumont, and Currie-Jelks check in as Hoosiers for the first time at the 6:00 mark of Q1. Yarden Garzon entering the game now as well #iuwbb— miles regan (@MilesRegan) August 3, 2023
Freshman guard Lenée Beaumont fits the “Teri Moren big guard” mold to a T. The 2023 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year had a team-high 12 rebounds, team-high 8 assists, and scored 7 points in 24 minutes. Her size and length give Beaumont a defensive sixth sense that forces loose balls to gravitate into her arms. She recorded a steal/rebound without even realizing she had the basketball on multiple occasions tonight.
Freshman guard Jules LaMendola burst onto the scene with 15, 4, and 4. The 2023 Texas Gatorade Player of the year’s first shift saw her sink back-to-back threes immediately before ripping the ball out of a Greek All Star’s arms at halfcourt. LaMendola is not afraid to shoot the three, and was one of four Hoosiers who shot 50% or better from downtown.
Sophomore forward Sharnecce Currie-Jelks had 15, 5, and 2 in just 13 minutes. The former UT-Martin standout was Teri Moren’s sole transfer portal grab this offseason because, much like starting post player Mackenzie Holmes, she can score efficiently. SCJ was 7-9 in her Hoosier debut and either scored or drew a foul whenever she received an entry pass. That’s good stuff. Her ability to keep the offense humming in relief of Holmes will be a storyline to follow this season.
No Mackenzie Holmes?
No big deal. Although the graduate forward’s absence on the court may have been disappointing to fans, they can’t say it wasn’t to be expected. While speaking to the media prior to departing for Greece, Indiana head coach Teri Moren alluded to the fact that her staff will be cautious with Holmes’ playing time abroad.
The 2023 AP All-American is healthy, but given her recent injury history, Indiana’s injury luck in “nontraditional” (I am talking about you, Las Vegas Invitational) environments, and the significance of these games, it is more than understandable that Moren would want to keep Mack on the bench. Holmes dressed, but did not appear on the floor against Greek All Stars.
Sophomore guard Henna Sandvik is the only other member of the roster who didn’t play tonight. Sandvik, who is spending the summer in Finland, is not expected to join the Hoosiers in Greece due to scheduling conflicts between IU and Finland’s U20 National Team.