After a humbling early season loss, Indiana women’s basketball is dominating again

  • 01/05/2024 8:34 am in

It was Indiana women’s basketball’s toughest loss in quite some time. The Hoosiers were down on themselves after their 96-64 defeat against Stanford on Nov. 12, the second game of the season. After a Big Ten championship season, the team had major expectations this winter, but after the early loss, questions loomed.

The team was on its way back to Bloomington when senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil pulled her teammates together. During the team meeting, Moore-McNeil voiced what she felt was wrong with this team. She called her team, “soft,” which has seemingly stuck with them ever since.

Just shortly after, coach Teri Moren also criticized her team. During non-conference play, Moren was upset with the team’s defensive effort. She made her message clear after a 112-79 win against Murray State: the team must improve. Indiana was playing good basketball but not to the level they could achieve.

Moren and Moore-McNeil’s tough love seemed to work.

Since losing to Stanford, Indiana has been on a tear, looking much more like the teams we’ve seen in recent years. Indiana has won 11 straight games and started 2024 with an impressive 80-59 victory over the Michigan Wolverines.

The team has taken its play to a new level over the past few weeks, and against Michigan, the Hoosiers were clicking in all the right ways. The game was highlighted by their perfect first quarter, finishing the first ten minutes a perfect 13-for-13 from the field. A commanding 36 points in the first quarter was the statement that Indiana needed. From there, they never took their foot off the gas pedal.

Indiana was doing it all on Thursday night, whether it was offense, defense, or sharing the ball. A win like this is as dominant as it gets, especially in conference play. After a hard-fought New Year’s Eve victory against Illinois and a clear statement against Michigan, it seems Indiana has turned the page for good.

“We know how important every single win is in the Big Ten,” Mackenzie Holmes said. “We can’t have an off night, not in this conference. I know we had some growing pains along the way early on in the season but that’s the past now. I think we are a completely different team than we were back in November.”

Indiana has figured things out at the right time. The questions they had for themselves at the beginning of the season seem to be forgotten. Game after game, this Indiana squad continues to get better. This team is clicking and finding out its strengths right before the most critical parts of the year.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Holmes, Sara Scalia, Sydney Parrish, or Yarden Garzon; Indiana is winning games by doing what they do best: sharing the basketball. It might have taken some time, but Indiana’s got a new type of confidence, the same as last year but with a different flare.

“We’ve continued to improve and that’s what you want,” Moren said. “That’s what we want as a staff. You know it’s coach speak but you want to get a little bit better every day. We’ve gotten a little bit better inside of every game.”

(Photo credit: IU Athletics)

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