We’ve seen this matchup before. Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes vs Makenzie Holmes and the Indiana Hoosiers.
Indiana and Iowa went up against each other three times last year, all three games being played in the span of two weeks. Each of those three games would result in losses for Indiana.
Iowa would eventually be the co-Big Ten regular season champions and then Big Ten tournament champions. The Hoosiers had the same aspirations but their struggles against Iowa pushed them aside. The Hawkeyes controlled the Big Ten last year but if Indiana wanted to take control of the conference in the 2023 season, IU had to defeat the reigning champs.
Fast forward to the second week of February and there's a top-five matchup between these two teams in Assembly Hall. One of the biggest games in women's college basketball of the entire season. Iowa still has Clark and Monika Czinano but there’s one key difference in this year's bout.
Indiana is now the team to beat.
Tied at 39, it was anyone's game heading into the final two quarters. Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder even mentioned that she felt “good” being tied at halftime. The two teams had battled it out for the entirety of the match but as Indiana pulled away, it was clear that the Hoosiers wanted this one badly.
Iowa was able to defeat Indiana last year on Feb. 19, Feb. 21 and March 6. Indiana fell 0-3 against the regular season and tournament Big Ten champions. The Hoosiers had already proved to be one of the top teams in the country last year but they still had one more mountain to climb. The Hawkeyes had Indiana’s number, but in a season where everything seems to be in Indiana’s control, the Hoosiers finally got their revenge.
Clark walked off the court to a vibration of boos while Holmes and Grace Berger met at half court giving each other a swinging high five with smiles across their faces. Indiana took down the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-78.
Indiana has done some great things. Its highest-ever national ranking, on pace for its best regular season record in program history, and multiple top-25 wins are just a few things that Indiana has done this season. The top-five meeting and significant Big Ten implications was more than enough for Indiana to crave the win but because of what happened last year, this one meant more. You know what they say, success is the sweetest revenge.
“I think that Grace said it best, we came up short three times to Iowa last year and I think that for some of our returners especially that stuck with them,” Moren said. “Tonight especially Grace and Mackenzie really wanted to play well tonight.”
The Hoosiers finally got the win over the team that haunted them all last season. They improve to 23-1 and 13-1 against conference opponents. Although the game was filled with drama, this game serves as just another victory for Teri Moren and her squad.
She’s said it before and she’ll say it again: a win is a win.
“It's another win,” Moren said. “That's really all it is for us. We have goals and as I've said, you have to win all of them to achieve what we want to achieve. Our road is difficult. We are up for the challenge.”
As Indiana continues its magical season it's clear that Moren has expressed a certain notion amongst her team. Don’t take any game for granted and take one win at a time. The Hoosiers have stamped their name as the team to beat and the rest of their season lies in the palm of their hands.
“We are writing a story right now,” Moren said. “We control our destiny. Not letting anybody else hold the pen. We need to be the ones that are writing the story throughout the rest of Big Ten play, into the conference tournament, and into the postseason.”