Indiana (2-1) looked fresh and energized on Friday evening, taking on Murray State (1-2) at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in front of a crowd of 8432. The Hoosiers were coming off of a big loss against Stanford last week which knocked them out of the top ten in national rankings. But the week’s workouts seemed to spark life back into this resilient team.
The Indiana defense started strong at the Hall, with 14 rebounds and 3 blocks in the first 7 minutes of play. IU held the Racers to 7 points in that same timeframe, and kept them at 24% shooting.
But the Hoosiers were really clicking as a team on the offensive side of the court, as well. Hitting shots they couldn’t buy in their loss at Stanford, and making great passes in the paint.
Sophomore Guard Lexus Bargesser dished a great assist underneath the basket after drawing the double team in the lane, to a wide-open Mackenzie Holmes with a few minutes of play remaining in the quarter. The All-American Graduate Forward got open for 6 1st quarter points.
Back door cuts for drives into the paint was the story for Indiana after the conclusion of the first ten minutes.
The second quarter breathed some life into MSU, but the deficit was significant, as the buzzer sounded, Indiana would head into the locker with a 52-35 advantage.
Graduate Guard Sara Scalia had a perfect 3rd quarter, going 2-2 from the field and 6-6 from the stripe. Murray did have a nice 7-0 run in the 3rd, but Indiana was hitting enough and pulling down plenty of rebounds to compliment their 20ish point lead, which they successfully maintained. But overall, the IU defense had allowed more production than Head Coach Teri Moren was interested in permitting.
“My problem isn’t so much what we did offensively, but what we did defensively,” said Coach after the game. Moren was disappointed giving up 79 points at home to this Racer team.
“[We need to] identify the [defensive] problem and find ways to fix it as a group – this is not the team we were a year ago,” as she mentioned the need for increased toughness on the court, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
But much to their credit, Murray State is a very talented team, playing very good basketball. They did not do anything particularly poorly throughout the evening, except failing to convert a high percentage of their shots. They gave up plenty of size and skill to this veteran Hoosier team, but performed well as a team, including the execution of the full-court press. As scrappy as this Racer team is, they simply could not muscle their way past the 22-point ¾ game deficit.
The big question of the third quarter, however, was the noticeable absence of Senior Guard Sydney Parrish, who was benched with a mere 14 minutes of play, and had a leg wrapped on the sideline.
“Looks like a hamstring [strain], so we decided to sit her,” said Indiana Head Coach Teri Moren during the post-game conference.
With 3:15 to play, IU reached triple digits with the help of a 14-2 run over 4 and a half minutes. The bench was cleared for Indiana, but the younger players were hungry, and didn’t let up at all!
Indiana collectively shot 54% from the field, with 6 Hoosiers in double-digits. Scalia led all with 22, Holmes performed the double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Garzon and Chloe Moore-McNeil added 14 each. IU’s bench production included 12 points from both Bargesser and Sophomore Forward Lilly Meister. Lenee Beaumont had 9, while Jules LaMendola added 4 points.
Up next, Indiana will host Lipscomb 2pm on Sunday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall