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Indiana women’s basketball beats Maryland 87-73: Three things we learned

Hoosiers hot first half was kenough on Barbie night in College Park.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Indiana at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Indiana women’s basketball jumped out to a 50-32 halftime lead and held off a late Maryland surge to defeat the Terrapins on the road Wednesday, 87-73. The win improves the Hoosiers’ record to 18-2 overall and 9-1 in Big Ten play.

Here’s three things:

Lex is on the board

With senior guard Sydney Parrish continuing to deal with a foot injury, we got sophomore Lexus Bargesser in the starting lineup for a third straight game.

Bargesser, who appeared in 29 games as a freshman and served as Indiana’s sixth player this year until joining the starting at Purdue, is a good defender and can get to the basket with the ball consistently but struggles to finish at times.

The Grass Lake, MI native went without buckets in each of her first two starts, leading Maryland to naturally select Bargesser as a player they’d dare to beat them. And she did.

Bargesser totaled nine points off a very efficient 4-6 (66.7%) shooting and scored her first basket as a starter by knocking down a 3 during Indiana’s game-opening 14-2 run.

She also cut up the Terrapin defense off the bounce and recorded a career-high six assists by finding teammates whenever they were open, especially Mackenzie Holmes (23 pts, 10 reb) in the post.

Bargesser leading Indiana, one of the best passing teams in the Big Ten, in helpers in a road win is huge. With little known on the extent of Parrish’s injury the Hoosiers are going to need at least nine and six out of #1 every night.

Sticking with what works

Bargesser arrival aside, not a lot of “new” for the Hoosiers in this one.

Maryland rolled out a zone early so Indiana started shooting 3s. Only 3s.

A pretty Lenée Beaumont take with 3:22 left in the first quarter was the Hoosiers’ first 2-point field goal attempt and came after ten consecutive tries from beyond the arc.

The Hoosiers finished the first half 8-18 (44.4%) from deep went 9-26 (35%) overall.

Maryland abandoned the zone and the Hoosiers’ deep shooting cooled off in the third, so Indiana turned to Mackenzie Holmes to stave off a third quarter Terrapin run that cut an 18-point halftime deficit to single digits.

Holmes made it to the line four times drew contact to force multiple Terps starters into foul trouble down the stretch. Much like against Purdue, it was Chloe Moore-McNeil (10 pts, 5 reb) with the ball in her hands whenever the Hoosiers needed a bucket.

Something else to note: Maryland outscored Indiana 29-16 in the third largely because they started deploying a 3-quarter court press whenever the Hoosiers brought the ball up. With Ohio State next on the schedule I think I know what Indiana will be emphasizing in practice this week...

What it all means

Tonight’s win over Maryland is Indiana’s first-ever in College Park. The Hoosiers were 0-6 in their previous half-dozen trips to the DMV... that’s a big deal!

With at least a share of the title in six of nine completed seasons in the conference, Maryland is the poster child for Big Ten women’s hoops success. A Hoosier win over the Terps didn’t seem possible six or seven years ago but Teri Moren’s built up a program that’s suddenly 4-1 against Brenda Frese’s bunch over the last three seasons.

Indiana’s a whopping 36-8 against the league as a whole during that span with a regular season championship to boot. The Big Ten women’s hoops success poster is getting a new look... one with candy stripes and hooped earrings.

That’s all long-term stuff though. As for this season, the win means the reigning Big Ten champs are still tied atop the Big Ten with Iowa (who also won tonight) and hold a half-game lead over Ohio State, who plays Wisconsin tomorrow.

All three teams have just one conference loss to this point but someone will pick up a second soon as the Hoosiers and Buckeyes play Sunday in Columbus. We’ll have more for you on that one later in the week.