One hundred and thirty-five days ago, Indiana head coach Teri Moren was introduced to the Assembly Hall crowd for the first time this season in grand style: In a car driven on the red carpet from the tunnel to the Branch McCracken Court. Moren, donning a red Tiawan Mullen jersey, got out, jumped onto the stage, waved to the crowd that hadn’t seen her in over seven months, and made a lasso motion with her right hand.
That was Hoosier Hysteria 2022. Friday, October the 7th, to be exact.
On Sunday, Moren was able to make the same motion, this time, with the rest of the net that was cut down around her right index finger, after Indiana clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season title for just the second time in program history.
Indiana defeated Purdue 83-60 to not only retain the Barn Burner Trophy and finish the regular season undefeated at home, but to clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title.
As a record number of fans circled outside Assembly Hall hours before the noon tip, it would turn into a full-circle story inside, in front of the first sold-out crowd in program history. Between the end of the first quarter and the start of the second, many alumni were honored, particularly the 1983 Big Ten regular season champions. That 1982-83 team was the first season the conference held regular-season competition and ended up sharing the honor with Ohio State after both schools went 15-3 in conference play. At that time, it was the first and only Big Ten regular-season title to date.
Now, they have some company.
In the words of junior guard Sydney Parrish, “We are not done yet." With the win, IU also clinched the No. 1 seed in the B1G tournament. This is regardless of next week’s results, as even if Indiana and Iowa finish tied atop the conference, Indiana holds the tiebreaker as IU beat Illinois twice, whereas Iowa lost at Illinois.
The next step is to clinch the Big Ten title outright, something the program has never done before. This can be achieved as early as Tuesday, when Iowa travels on the road to take on the Maryland Terrapins. If the Hawkeyes lose, Indiana will be outright champs. If Iowa wins on the road, Indiana will have another chance to do so: on the road against the Hawkeyes in the regular-season finale next Sunday afternoon in Iowa City in front of a sold-out crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. If you didn’t have that game circled on your calendar, it’s not too late.
No matter what happens next week, history has been made for Indiana women’s basketball, and the Hoosiers will be the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament during the first weekend in March at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Indiana will be looking for just its second-ever Big Ten Tournament championship, with the only other one coming in 2002.
Indiana hopes Moren will be making that lasso motion twice more this season with the net attached to her hand. Only time will tell.