This was an... interesting week for Indiana women’s basketball.
What happened in Iowa City was humbling. It was the second of two road games that just got away from Indiana after Stanford, also doubling as Indiana’s only two losses on the season overall.
During the postgame film session, Teri Moren questioned whether the Hoosiers were truly ready for that game. The staff prides itself on telling the truth, even if it isn’t what the players want to hear.
“We looked disconnected,” Moren said. “I thought at times we looked uninspired.”
She’s tried to build the program with the values the state knows well: toughness and grit. Indiana doesn’t do losing streaks. The Hoosiers need to rise to challenges like that, even in defeat.
They responded with an 85-62 win over Minnesota.
Toughness marked the game. Mackenzie Holmes faced a tough matchup against a larger center and dominated for 32 points while the Hoosiers as a whole dove to the floor for any and every loose ball they could get their hands on.
Indiana imposed itself tonight, finding its best shots on offense and hauling in misses off the glass. The Hoosiers scored 18 points in the fastbreak and limited the Gophers to just 8 assists as a team, clogging passing lanes and forcing isolation.
(The Hoosiers, by the way, finished with 23 assists as a team. Chloe Moore-McNeil and Sydney Parrish tied for the lead with five apiece.)
But the game wasn’t without its mistakes. Ten turnovers and some defensive lapses drew Moren’s ire but there was never a moment when Indiana lost control of the game.
Indiana pushed the pace in the first half, getting the ball down the court in transition and finding the best shot. For a while that was Minnesota native and former Gopher Sara Scalia, who scored 14 points in the second quarter alone.
The lead would be pushed to 20 and get whittled back down to around 10 before Indiana inevitably seized control again. That ended up being the story for much of the second half until the final margin of 17.
Minnesota is a program with legitimate talent, the upper Midwest is a hotspot for prospects in the women’s game. Former Iowa forward Monika Czinano, Indiana’s Lilly Meister and Scalia are among them.
They aren’t to be taken lightly, now or in the coming years.
For now, Indiana got a comfortable win to get its spirits back up after a disappointing finish in Iowa City.