The sixth-ranked Indiana women’s basketball team will face its highest-ranked opponent this season when No. 2 Ohio State comes to Assembly Hall on Thursday night in a matchup that will determine first place in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers have already beaten all five of their Top 25 opponents they’ve faced this season, and will get an opportunity to move into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with a win over the Buckeyes, who are coming off their first loss of the season.
“This is a very dangerous team,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said of Ohio State. “Especially dangerous coming off of a loss against Iowa.”
Ohio State has six players averaging double-digit scoring, with Taylor Mikesell leading the way at 18.2 points per game. This is the fifth-year senior’s second year with the team after transferring from Oregon following her junior season.
Indiana is off to its best start in program history, with an 18-1 record midway through the season. The lone loss came at Michigan State without star guard Grace Berger, who missed eight games due to a knee injury.
“They have a great team,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff told the Hoosier Network. “We know this is going to be a big challenge for us, especially on the road. I know they’ll have a great environment on Thursday night, so we’re going to have to play significantly better than we did against Iowa. I think we will. I think our kids will bounce back and play hard, but it’s going to be tough.”
Berger returned on Jan. 8 in a rout over Northwestern, and has averaged 13.2 points per game in the past five.
Indiana is led by star post player Mackenzie Holmes, who leads the team in scoring (21.9 ppg) and in rebounding (8.3 rpg), and has also established herself as a leader on this team.
The Hoosiers swept both matchups between the two programs last season. Indiana beat Ohio State by 20 points in Columbus on Dec. 12, 2021, and also took care of the Buckeyes with a 70-62 victory in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.
Moren and the Hoosiers understand the significance of this meeting, with the two teams tied for first with Iowa. All three teams are 8-1 in league play.
“In order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” Moren said.