Local Sports News: March 25, 2024

Indiana and Oklahoma face off in the Second Round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament
#4 Indiana Hoosiers host the #5 Oklahoma Sooners in the Second Round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament this evening at 6:30 PM in the Albany Regional 1 at Simon Sjkodt Assembly Hall. The game will be televised on ESPN2 with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16 on Friday to face Top Seed, unbeaten South Carolina, who beat 8 Seed North Carolina 88-41 on Sunday. 

Indiana is 25-5 on the season and coming off 89-56 win over #13 Fairfield while Oklahoma held off #12 Florida Gulf Coast 73-70 on Saturday Afternoon. This will be the first meeting between the two programs, and it will be this first time that Indiana has faced a Big 12 Team since November 29, 2019, when the Hoosiers lost to Baylor 77-62 in the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sara Scalia scored 27 points and set a School NCAA Tournament Record knocking down five three pointers in Saturday’s win over Fairfield. Scalia set School Tournament records going 5-10 from downtown which were the most made and the most attempted. Mackenize Holmes, Yarden Garzon, and Chloe Moore-McNeil all scored 13 points each. The Hoosiers set a combined eight Tournament School records in the win including 89 points, 10 three-point field goals made, 26-point field goal attempts, 45 rebounds, and 25 assists. The Hoosiers had 10 block shots in Saturday’s win. The Hoosiers are in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th year and the 6th under Head Coach Teri Moren.

Indiana is 10-9 all time in the NCAA Tournament with including a 5-0 record in the first round in the NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Teri Moren after going 1-3 in the first round in four appearances prior to Teri Moren’s time at Indiana. Moren is 9-5 as Indiana Head Coach in the NCAA Tournament with 2 Sweet 16 appearances in 2021 and 2022 and Elite 8 Appearance in 2021. The Hoosiers are 4-1 at home all time in the NCAA Tournament.  Moren is 424-228 in 21 seasons as a Head Coach and she is 225-97 in 10 seasons in Bloomington.

Oklahoma railed from 14 points down to beat Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday. Sklyar Vann led the way with 24 points and was glad to survive and advance but know what lies ahead when it comes to the postseason. “There are no off days in March and its glad to get the first win out of the way but we know we have another good team coming up and stay locked in” Vann Said. Vann, a Senior, leads the team in scoring with 15 points and 7 rebounds per game and knows that the Sooners have a tough task ahead playing on the road “Playing teams on their home floor you feel like your down 10 points already and Texas is the toughest play to play in the Big 12, Playing in front of the type of crowd its exciting and it’s going to be loud” Vann Said.

Junior Guard Payton Verhulst averages 12.8 points and 6 rebounds per game while Freshman Sahara Williams averages 10.3 points and 5.4 rebounds.  Lexy Keyes added during Sunday’s Press Conference “This is what you play all year for and we are going to embrace it and it will be a great atmosphere, “Texas is a tough place to play but so is Iowa State and it prepares us for games like this” Keys Said.

Oklahoma Head Coach Jennie (Lillis) Barancyzk is in her third season with 73-25 record in Norman and 3 NCAA Tournament Appearances.  She coached at Drake from 2012-21 with a record of 192-96 making the NCAA Tournament 3 years in a row from 2017-19 and the WNIT in 2015, 2016 and 2021 with an overall record of 265-121 in 12 years as head coach.  Barancyzk attended Dowling Catholic HS in West Des Moines, Iowa which is the same High School as the NCAA’s All-time Leading Scorer and current Iowa Hawkeye Cailtin Clark. Barancyzk played for Lisa Bulder at Iowa from 2000-04 scoring 1,762 points in 122 games. She was a first team All-Big Ten Selection in 2003 and second team All-Big Ten in 2002 and 2004.  She is 1-4 against Teri Moren when they went head-to-head in the Missouri Valley Conference when Moren was at Indiana State in 2013-14. Moren won all four regular season meetings and Drake beat Indiana State 66-58 in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on March 15, 2014 in St. Charles Missouri.  “I consider her a friend and a very good coach” Moren said of Barancyzk. “She was a really good player at Iowa and if she spends time on one side it is the offensive side” Moren said.  “We like to play fast but they play at a faster pace and so we have to get out to a strong start and control the pace” Moren Said.

Barancyzk was asked on Sunday what it is going to take for Oklahoma to win this game.  “So Many things, you got to handle the extra and all the other things and this is March and as a coach I am excited to see that for us to respond to that in this environment”. Jennie Barancyzk Said.  After facing a Florida Gulf Coast squad who hit 11 three pointers on Saturday the Sooners face an Indiana Team who hit 10 three pointers against Fairfield on Saturday and knows that Indiana is a well-rounded team who scores from all over the floor. “Every team shoots the ball well and it will be a familiar game plan for us and epically a team who has a big inside presence along with shooters and if we stick one game plan, they will figure it out” Barancyzk said. Indiana knows that Oklahoma is going to want to push the tempo and get their shots up in a hurry. “60 percent of their shots come in the first 10 seconds of their offensive possession so we have to lock in and get back in transition and get set quickly” Indiana Senior Chloe Moore McNeil Said.  

Indiana has drawn big crowds this season with over ten thousand a game and when these NCAA Tournament Games are in Bloomington Hoosier Nation responds with 12,753 in attendance for Saturday’s games. A Season ago #9 Miami Florida came in and upset the top seeded Hoosiers and with being the final home game for Mackenize Holmes and Sara Scalia. Coach Moren does not look back at that game but looks forward to this game and hopes that they do not have repeat of last year’s game and looking for their third Sweet 16 appearance in the last four years.

Former Indiana University Basketball Manager Dusty May Named Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Michigan
Is Dusty May ready for the big stage? IU basketball fans are about to get an up close and personal view as he heads to the Big Ten. The former IU basketball manager under Bob Knight has finalized a deal to become the next head coach at Michigan. May became one of the hottest names on the coaching carousel a year ago when he led Florida Atlantic to its greatest season in school history.  He guided his Owls to the Final Four while posting a program-best 35-4 record.  After a 25-9 2023-24 campaign, FAU has an .822 winning percentage over the last two years. May is a 1995 Graduate of Eastern Greene HS which is less than 20 Miles Southwest of Bloomington.

Rumors were swirling earlier on Saturday May might be headed to Louisville. May replaces Juwan Howard in Ann Arbor, who was fired after five seasons and the program’s first last-place Big Ten finish since the 1966-67 season. After serving as a manager under Knight as an IU student (1996-2000), May spent three seasons at his alma mater. After two seasons as the program’s video coordinator (2002-04), he moved up to the administrative assistant for the 2004-05 season, all under Mike Davis. May, Joe Pasternack, and Mike Schrage were all IU managers under Bob Knight in the 90s, and all three went on to become Division I college basketball coaches.

Indiana University Women’s Swimming and Diving Finishes 7th at the NCAA Championships
Indiana has produced program record finishes in each of the last two NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, finishing seventh in the team standings for the third time in program history Saturday inside the Gabrielsen Natatorium on the campus of the University of Georgia. Indiana earned 206 points, just ahead of USC’s 200. With the result, IU has finished top 10 in the team race seven of the last eight seasons and top 12 at each of the last 10 national meets. The 2024 Big Ten Champion was the conference’s top finisher at the national meet, outscoring Ohio State (153) and Michigan (147.5).

“Well, we laid it all out on the line today – tonight especially – and we were really gunning for that sixth-place finish,” IU head swimming coach Ray Looze said. If you would have told me we’d get seven with all the challenges that were put before us this year, I would have taken that in a second. I am so proud of these girls – Big Ten Champions, seventh place and multiple team records broken along the way. I can’t say I’m prouder of a group of ladies than this one. They’re very special, and they’ll go down in history as one of our finest teams.”

Ten Hoosiers combined for 31 All-America honors, tying the program record set a year ago. Four relays reached the podium for the first time in program history and all five scored for the fourth time but first time since 2004. Indiana tallied four individual medals, the most since Lilly King and Miranda Tucker combined for as many in 2016. Like the Big Ten Championship, IU’s standing in the meet came down to the final relay – though, this time, not quite in Indiana’s favor. The Hoosiers did their job, posting a program record 3:10.68 to earn a podium spot and finish better than their No. 9 seed coming in. However, Louisville also overachieved to place third – enough to jump IU in the standings with 212 points. Indiana was six points away from an outright program record finish. The Hoosiers earned 68 points on the final day from the 1,650-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and the relay.

Junior Anna Peplowski led off the relay and set the 100-yard freestyle program record for the second time Saturday with a split of 47.18. Peplowski was 47.27 in the 100 free prelim to reach her third championship final and went 47.32 in that final to finish seventh individually. Sophomore Kristina Paegle established a personal best 47.57 to finish 11th individually but split a 46.75 to anchor the relay. Seniors Ashley Turak and Ella Ristic split 47.96 and 48.79, respectively, in the final race of their decorated careers.

For the second-straight season, junior Ching Hwee Gan and Mariah Denigan both reached the podium in the 1,650 free. Gan repeated as a medalist, following her 2023 silver with a bronze this season after touching in a time of 15:46.90 – a season best. Denigan has collected consecutive seventh-place finishes, touching this year in 15:55.41. Saturday’s swim was just her second 1,650 free of the campaign, making her season debut with a bronze medal performance at the Big Ten Championships due to a busy international schedule. As well as the No. 7 in the country, Indiana also finishes its season as Big Ten Champions for the first time since 2019 after winning the conference title by one half of a point over Ohio State in February. The Hoosier women also boasted a perfect dual meet record, going 8-0 in the regular season.

Sara Scalia leads #4 Indiana over #13 Fairfield in the NCAA Tournament First Round
The #4 Seed Indiana Hoosiers pulled away in the second half to hand the #13 seed Fairfield Stags their second loss and end their season 89-56 on Saturday in the First Round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Saturday Afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.  Indiana 25-5 will advance to Monday’s Night’s Second Round. Fairfield snaps a 29-game winning streak and ends their season with a 31-2 Record. Indiana is 2-1 all-time against Fairfield including a 2-0 record against the Stags in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are 5-0 in the first round in the NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Teri Moren after going 1-3 in the first round in four appearances prior to Teri Moren’s time at Indiana.

Sara Scalia led the Hoosiers with 27 points and hit five three pointers to extend her school record for most three pointers in a single season with 100. Mackenize Holmes, Chloe Moore-McNeil and Yarden Garzon all scored 13 points apiece. Sydney Parrish and Lexus Bargesser scored 7 points each.  Lilly Meister scored 4 points, Lenee Beaumont added 3 points and 2 points from Juliana La Mendola. Henna Sandvik and Arielle Wisne played but did not score. The Hoosiers finished the game 31-61 for from the field, 10-26 from three-point range for 38% and 17-22 from the free throw line for 77%. The Hoosiers pulled down 45 rebounds, dished out 25 assists, 5 steals, 10 blocks and committed 13 turnovers.

Janelle Brown led the Stags with 19 points and Meghan Andersen added 10 points. Fairfield finished 21-66 from the field for 31%, 11-33 from three-point range and 3-4 from the free throw line for 75%. The Stags pulled down 29 rebounds, dished out 14 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocks and committed 12 turnovers. The Stags were playing in front of one of the biggest crowds they have played in front of and Jenelle Brown acknowledged that it played a factor. “The atmosphere was hard to compete against and it was hard to heard plays and coach” Jenelle Brown Said after the game. Brown added “This loss was a lesson, but to be a champion you have to learn from it”.

The Game started out fast as Jenelle Brown score the first five points for the Stags as both teams were driving inside as neither team was able to stop the drive in the first quarter as the Hoosiers led 20-17 at the end of the first quarter. Fairfield went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter to lead 29-24 with 5:18 left in the second quarter before Chloe Moore-McNeil ended the drought to make it 29-26. Fairfield extended the lead 31-26 when Meghan Andersen scored with 4:47 Left. The Hoosiers went on a 10-0 run to up five points with 55 seconds left before the break to make 36-31 as the Hoosiers led 38-34 at halftime. 

In the third quarter teams were trading three-point buckets as the teams combined for six three pointers as Indiana outscored Fairfield 26-15 at the end of the third quarter with the Hoosiers leading 64-49. Fairfield’s Emina Selimovic hit back-to-back threes and was feeling confident after draining the second three but Indiana closed out in the fourth quarter with a 25-7 run as the Hoosiers held Jenelle Brown to seven second half points after scoring 14 in the second half.

Fairfield Head Coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis was an assistant coach when Sara Scalia played at Minnesota, and she has seen her game improve and evolve in the last two years that Scalia has transferred to Indiana from Minnesota. “Sara is an incredible person and player, and she continues to grow and always improving her game” Thibault-DuDonis said after the game.  She added “As much as we wanted to stop her, she is just that good and she led Indiana to this win”.  Fairfield returns most of their team back for next season and with Coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis signing a three-year contract extension a couple days ago she will have this team back in the NCAA Tournament next season.

#5 Oklahoma holds off #12 Florida Gulf Coast to Face Indiana on Monday
The #5 Seed Oklahoma Sooners held off the #12 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 73-70 in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Albany Regional 1 First Round at Simon Sjkodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington on Saturday Afternoon. Oklahoma 23-9 advances to Monday Night’s Second round game against Indiana with a game time and television designation to be announced after second round games have completed. Florida Gulf Coast finishes the season with a 29-5 record.

Skylar Vann led Oklahoma with 24 points, Sahara Williams added 14 points along with 11 points from Payton Verhulst. Oklahoma finished the game shooting 44% from the field going 25-56, 6-18 from three-point range for 33% and 17-22 from the free throw line for 77%. The Sooners pulled down 34 rebounds, 19 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocks and committed 13 turnovers. Florida Gulf Coast was led by Emani Jefferson with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Brylee Bartram added 14 points and Dolly Carins scored 10 points. The Eagles were 25-67 from the field for 37%, 11-30 from three-point range for 30% and 9-15 from the free throw line for 60%. Florida Gulf Coast pulled down 35 Rebounds, 12 assists, 8 steals, 4 blocks and committed 12 turnovers.

Oklahoma was handed an administrative technical foul for not having their starting lineup turned in on time. The Eagles jumped out a 25-15 first quarter and were drilling three pointers and throwing Oklahoma their game a little bit. Oklahoma outscored Florida Gulf Coast 18-10 in the second quarter as the Eagles led 35-33 going into the locker room at halftime. Oklahoma responded in the second half outscoring Florida Gulf Coast 40-35 as the Sooners got to the line hitting more free throws than the Eagles attempted. Oklahoma led 53-50 at the end of the third quarter. Both teams scored 20 fourth quarter points as the game went down to the wire. The game was tied at 70-70 when Payton Verhulst hit a jumper with 50 seconds left to make it 72-70. Florida Gulf Coast had to play the foul game and Sklyar Vann hit a free throw to make it 73-70 with 16 seconds left. The Eagles missed two three pointers in the final seconds as Sooners move on.

“If this game is not sold out on Monday, I hope that fans that are not rooting for Indiana will buy the remaining tickets and root for us”. Oklahoma Head Coach Jennie Barancyzk said after the game. Oklahoma is used to playing in front of huge crowds in the Big 12 with Texas, Iowa State and Kansas State.  But the Sooners would want to be playing in front of big crowds like this. “We know that this will be a tough environment on Monday and were used to playing front of hostile crowds in the Big 12” Oklahoma’s Payton Verhulst Said after the game. “We rather be playing in front of big crowds then no fans and having everybody rooting against us” Verhulst added.

Barancyzk and Moren are no stranger to each other when they faced off in the Missouri Valley at Drake and Indiana State respectably. “Teri has done a great job building up this program and have incredible support” Barancyzk Said. “You don’t want to face her, but anything can happen at any time especially in March and we have to be ready for Monday”.  This will be the first ever meeting between Indiana and Oklahoma although the two teams played in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Tournament in Florida at Thanksgiving with Indiana winning both games against Tennessee and Princeton and Oklahoma falling against the Lady Vols and the Tigers.  Coach Barancyzk said that they did not scout Indiana at the time just focusing on the teams that they were playing but know they are facing a tough challenge and big crowd on Monday. 

Indiana University Wrestling Completes its season with the NCAA Championships in Kansas City
Indiana finished competition during Session III at the 2024 NCAA Championships at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The Hoosiers entered the day with five wrestlers still competing in the tournament in No. 32 Cayden Rooks (133), No. 23 Dan Fongaro (141), No. 17 Graham Rooks (149), No. 11 Brayton Lee (157) and No. 17 Tyler Lillard (165). The day began with each of the wrestlers competing in the second round of the consolation bracket. Graham Rooks and Brayton Lee both advanced to stay alive in the tournament.

In those matches, Rooks defeated No. 31 Finn Solomon (Pittsburgh) by tech fall, 20-4 (6:44) and Lee topped No. 21 Lucas Revano (Penn) in the tiebreakers, 4-2 for the senior duo to advance in the wrestle backs. In the third round of consolations, Rooks dropped a major decision to No. 7 Tyler Kasak (Penn State), 13-1, and Lee fell to No. 19 Tommy Askey (Appalachian State) by decision, 4-2. Indiana finished tied for 26th place in the team race with 13 points which is a six-point improvement from a season ago. Additionally, the 13 points is the highest point total at NCAAs scored by Indiana since 2016 when the Hoosiers finished with the same amount.

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