Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sydney Parrish indicates a 3-pointer during Indiana's win over No. 5 Iowa on Thursday. (HN photo/Daniel Rodriguez)
Sydney Parrish indicates a 3-pointer during Indiana's win over No. 5 Iowa on Thursday. (HN photo/Daniel Rodriguez)

‘We’re writing a story’: Indiana adds to historic season with top-five victory against Iowa to strengthen hold in Big Ten

Indiana extended its lead in the conference to 1.5 games

Kate Martin inbounded the ball to Caitlin Clark on the far side of Gainbridge Fieldhouse with 3.7 seconds to go in the B1G Championship in March 2022 with the Hawkeyes up 74-67. Clark held onto the basketball for dear life, then fired the ball in the air once the clock hit zero, as white confetti fell in the opposite direction.

Iowa had defeated Indiana for the third time in 2021-22, this being the biggest game of the bunch. Indiana had yet again given Iowa all it had for 40 minutes, but was left watching Clark and co. celebrate. The Hoosiers’ quest of winning four games in four days fell just short.

Three hundred and forty days after that Sunday afternoon in the state capital, Indiana had the chance to get revenge against the lone team picked ahead of them in the 2022-23 media poll. After an offseason of adding three key scorers to match Iowa’s high-octane offense, Indiana finally had the chance to match up with the Hawkeyes in the first of two meetings this season, with the top of the Big Ten up for grabs.

This time, it was on their own home floor. This time, they came out on top in front of a record-setting crowd of 13,046, as the No. 2 Hoosiers picked up their best victory of a historic season over No. 5, Iowa 87-78.

“We're so grateful once again to have the turnout and energy in the building,” head coach Teri Moren said. “Trust me when I tell you we needed every one of those 13,000 rear ends in the seats tonight to help us get to the finish line.”

Indiana set a new record Thursday night against Iowa, as 13,046 fans showed up for the Hoosier victory. (HN photo/Daniel Rodriguez)

It’s becoming a norm in the sport to have record crowds for occasions like these. Clark alluded to the fact that Iowa has played in even larger crowds at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and the return game is already sold out.

“It’s nothing we haven’t seen before,” Clark said. “That's what women's basketball should be. It makes me happy, honestly.”

Indiana extended its lead in the conference to 1.5 games. It was the seventh victory against a ranked opponent this season for the Hoosiers, and the fourth against a top-10 team.

“It’s just another game,” Moren said. “That's really all it is for us.” 

Moren went on to talk about the lofty goals this team set for this season, and made a point that every game is just as important as the next if those goals want to be achieved.

Thursday night was not “just another game,” it was against the team that beat them three times last season. Moren mentioned that the losses to the Hawkeyes last season stuck out, and one could imagine Indiana was as hungry as ever to play Iowa. Iowa may have been the last Big Ten team Indiana had to play this year, but the Hoosiers arguably saved their best for the last.

Coming into the game, the obvious issue was guarding Clark. The junior guard came into the night averaging a semi-laughable 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The mindset was similar to how the men went into the matchup against Purdue with the mindset of slowing down, not completely stopping, the behemoth that is Zach Edey.

Although she didn’t admit it, Clark was impacted by Indiana. Despite making her first two 3-pointers, the preseason conference player of the year shot under 50% from the field, and only 3-for-11 (27%) from beyond the arc. And even still, Clark finished with a whopping 35 

points, 10 assists and four boards, despite taking a total of 39 shots: 28 from the field and 11 from the charity stripe.

Moren has always preached the little things that don’t appear in the box score. Yet again, Chloe Moore-McNeil’s defense was one of those factors. Moore-McNeil has been in charge of guarding the opposition’s best player, and Thursday was no different. As soon as Clark had the ball in her hands, Moore-McNeil had a hand in her face, watching her like a lifeguard on duty with a pool full of small children.

“Sometimes we came up short, that's Caitlin being Caitlin, doing Caitlin things,” Moren said.

Clark wasn’t the only National Player of the Year candidate on the Assembly Hall floor. Mackenzie Holmes had her own point to prove, going up against one of the only bigs that she struggled against last season: Monika Czinano. Yet again, Thursday was a different story, as Holmes dominated the post with 24 points and only allowed Czinano, a player averaging 18 points, to score only a third of that off 3-for-6 shooting. Czinano eventually fouled out of the ballgame and was limited to only 26 minutes.

“I'm not who I was when I came back from my surgery last season,” Holmes said after the game. “I've tried to put that behind me.”

Indiana’s game plan was once again excellent, using a healthy Holmes to its advantage. Moren said they wanted to limit Czinano from getting many deep or angled touches, and for the most part, IU did a great job of preventing that.

But, this season, it’s not just the star forward that Iowa had to gameplan for.

“Last season Indiana didn’t have 3-point shooters,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said afterward. “Now they do.”

Indiana shot exactly 50% from beyond the arc, with four players knocking down triples. Yarden Garzon, Sydney Parrish and Sara Scalia were three of them, all of whom are new additions to the roster this season.

A guard who is by no means new to the team, graduate student Grace Berger, also had a fantastic game, scoring a team-high 26 points, while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out six assists to add to her points total.

“I remember losing to (Iowa) three times last year,” Berger said postgame. “Anytime we play a great team like that, it means a little more."

It was a special night on so many occasions, and another giant leap forward for a program that is still striving for the level of national attention they feel they deserve. The crowd was huge as well, and you could bet your bottom dollar they were just as excited to beat Clark and company, considering how disliked Clark is despite her undeniable limitless potential.

The road doesn’t get much easier for IU, as the team travels to Columbus on Monday night to take on a ranked Buckeyes squad that will look for revenge against the team that beat them just two weeks ago in Bloomington.

“Our road is difficult, but we're up for the challenge,” Moren said. “We're writing a story right now, this group is…my charge to our team is to not let anyone else hold the pen."

Indiana controls its own destiny, and knows the final chapter in the regular season story is the return game against Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 26. Indiana hopes to be writing Big Ten regular season champs then for just the second time in program history.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 Hoosier Network