Sydney Parrish’s perfect first quarter sets tone for Indiana’s statement win against Nebraska

  • 01/08/2024 8:20 am in

Everyone knows Sydney Parrish is a good shooter. To know that is like knowing Teri Moren is the winningest coach in Indiana women’s basketball history or that Mackenzie Holmes is an All-American. It’s a fact.

Basketball is a fickle sport, though, and not everyone can always succeed. Shots are missed and games are lost. But neither of those things is happening right now for Indiana, and it’s largely due to Parrish.

Entering Indiana’s game against Nebraska on Sunday, it was hard to imagine how she could top her performance in Indiana’s 80-59 win over Michigan just days prior. Shooting 3-for-3 from the perimeter in the first quarter and scoring 14 points in 25 minutes of play provides the kind of energy that’s hard to reproduce.

But in the Hoosiers’ dominant 91-69 win over the Cornhuskers, Parrish didn’t just reproduce that energy — she doubled it.

In a literal sense, she doubled her makes from beyond the arc with six, marking a new career high in an Indiana uniform for the native Hoosier. In a figurative sense, Parrish’s lights-out shooting fueled the Hoosiers to play basketball at a new level, which everyone had been waiting to see all season.

Because after Parrish had a perfect first quarter with four made 3-pointers and 12 of Indiana’s 20 points, her teammates joined in on the fun. As a group, they didn’t score less than 22 points in any of the following quarters and shot 61 percent as a team, both from the field and beyond the arc.

“We’ve got great shooters on this basketball team, and we have so much confidence in all of them,” Teri Moren said. “I think they’re all independently confident shooters, but I think as a team, because they’re so connected and all about each other, that once you see one of those go in, I think it can be contagious for your team.”

Parrish’s 3-point shooting certainly seemed infectious, as Indiana went on to make 14 3-pointers for a new season-high and set a new program record for most 3-pointers made in a road game.

Parrish finished with a season-high 20 points, ending the game as one of four Hoosiers to score in double figures. The other three were Indiana’s usual suspects: Mackenzie Holmes, Sara Scalia and Chloe Moore-McNeil. The quartet displayed the Hoosiers’ talent in every aspect, from their ability to pass out to open shooters, take quick shots, fight for rebounds and succeed in difficult road environments — like the one in Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“Any time you’re on the road, it’s a different kind of toughness that you have to pack in your suitcase,” Moren said. “I thought we looked really together today, and tough from the tip.”

Sunday’s game was the kind that showed the potential Indiana has when things are firing on all cylinders. By scoring 22 points, Holmes made it her ninth game of the season with at least 20 points. Scalia led the Hoosiers in assists with seven, her most in an Indiana uniform, pulled down six rebounds and scored 19 points with five 3-pointers. Moore-McNeil scored 16 points and continued to play with the aggression Indiana needs from its primary ball-handler.

“She’s done a really good job of being more aggressive and kind of hunting her shot,” Holmes said about Moore-McNeil. “She had a great night on both sides of the ball as well. She’s really just super steady and consistent for us.”

The talent among the Hoosiers is unquestionable. Sometimes, it needs a little push to truly come to full force, though, and that’s where Parrish has had a significant impact recently. Whether hitting her 3-pointers or even just cheering her teammates on from the bench, she’s always involved in the game and making sure everyone around her is as well. She embodies the kind of outgoing, bubbly personality that a team like Indiana needs to counterbalance the stress level of playing in the Big Ten.

The togetherness of the Hoosiers would seem, to an outsider, like proof that they are at the top of their game. It’s not unreasonable to think that outscoring top conference opponents by double figures and boasting multiple players who can succeed at just about anything seems indicative of a team at its peak.

But it’s not if Moren and her squad have anything to say about it.

“I don’t know that we’ve hit our stride, I hope not,” Moren said. “There’s always some area where we can continue to improve.”

As one of the top teams in the country, the Hoosiers know their opponents will be looking to exploit any weakness they can find. And while Indiana isn’t perfect, there is one thing their adversaries will find difficult to take away: the kind of impact a player and person, someone like Parrish, has on her team.

(Photo credit: IU Athletics)

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