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Yarden Garzon drives during Indiana's win over Stetson on Dec. 3, 2023. (HN photo/Kallan Graybill)
Yarden Garzon drives during Indiana's win over Stetson on Dec. 3, 2023. (HN photo/Kallan Graybill)

Indiana defense returns to dominant ways in win over Stetson

After a so-so performance against Maine, the Hoosiers renewed their focus on the defensive end

Indiana returned home to Assembly Hall with a blowout win, 72-34, in Sunday's matinee matchup against Stetson.

The Hoosiers accumulated a 6-1 overall record before Stetson. After a close call against Maine, Indiana found the ability they needed, said Sydney Parrish.

Both head coach Teri Moren and players mentioned previously that their defense wasn’t where they wanted it to be.

“We went to Florida and beat two really really good teams and played great defense,” Parrish said. “Then we go to Maine and we let up a little bit on the defensive side, and we come here and they had zero fast-break points, and that’s huge.”

After some tough road games Indiana found its rhythm by stacking defensive wins, even if it wasn’t good wins. Indiana, previously struggling on defense, had room to grow against Stetson. 

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Yarden Garzon drives during Indiana's win over Stetson on Dec. 3, 2023. (HN photo/Kallan Graybill)

The Hoosiers took the floor and dominated from the start. The Indiana starting lineup would each earn their own individual points beginning the quarter. 

Chloe Moore-McNeil and Yarden Garzon both earned back-to-back 3-point shots for Indiana. Offensively balanced, the Hoosiers all found their moment to shine with four players above five points in the first quarter: Sara Scalia, Moore-McNeil, Garzon and Mackenzie Holmes.

Indiana sprinted through the end of the first, holding Stetson down on defense. They went on a run of 17-2 in the final six minutes of the first and led 24-9 overall. 

“We knew…on the defensive side that we needed to improve and our defensive effort is kind of what we pride [ourselves on] at Indiana,” Parrish said. “Going into this game, we knew that they were really athletic drivers, so we made it a point for the game that we needed to be in our gaps need to get stops early.”

The lead would continue to grow early on, including an 11-0 Indiana run. By the middle of the second quarter, IU was doubling up Stetson's scoring, finding success in transition.

Stetson tried to drive the ball into the paint but continuously was unsuccessful, turning the ball over to the Hoosiers. 

Moren gave different players opportunities throughout the quarters to improve. At the half Lenée Beaumont and Lilly Meister had at least three points each. 

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Lenée Beaumont runs up the floor during Indiana's win over Stetson on Dec. 3, 2023. (HN photo/Kallan Graybill)

Garzon finished the half with another fastbreak to further the steady lead over Stetson which now extended to 41-20. Garzon and Holmes led the Hoosiers with nine points each for Indiana. 

By the half, all statistics favored the Hoosiers that showed they were 64% from the field and 67% from the free-throw line. After the half, Indiana continued to hold its lead but struggled to keep that shooting going. Indiana started the third quarter 0-for-8. 

Moren said she was not pleased with the 15 offensive rebounds to a team that's far smaller than they are, but defensively they did better. 

“We took some really early quick shots that didn't go down,” Moren said. “I’ve got to do a better job of helping Chloe and [Lexus Bargesser] in those moments when, you know, we come down, take a shot and it misses, it's three or four possessions of that.”

Moren said they had a great first half, not the second and said the newcomers still were understanding how to find a rhythm in their gameplay.

Garzon changed the narrative of the 0-for-8 drought, finding a place to insert a drive and earn her points in the paint then immediately afterwards making a 3-pointer. 

Scalia and Bargesser followed suit scoring back to back with a defensive rebound and turnover by Stetson. This extended their 13-0 offensive run against the Hatters. 

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Sara Scalia stands during a free throw during Indiana's win over Stetson on Dec. 3, 2023. (HN photo/Kallan Graybill)

Beaumont then finished the third quarter with a jumper to diminish Steston’s chances at finding an opportunity to close the gap. The 29-point lead left lots of opportunity for the bench to aid in this extending lead. 

Stetson struggled to find any rhythm against Indiana’s fast-paced gameplay, due to turnovers, missed 3-pointer opportunities and lack of control of the ball. This led to zero fastbreak points and 34 points overall.

“The most important goal for us offensively that I gave them was for us to get more transition points,” Moren said. “The goal I gave them was between 10 and 12 points and you can see we had 26 fast breakpoints, so they achieved in a big way.”

With five minutes left to go and IU leading 70-31, the bench came to relieve the starting lineup and earn their time on the homecourt. 

Henna Sandvik and Arielle Wisne each stepped on the floor to secure the win for Indiana 72-34.

“Good teams show up on the nights where you know you gotta be special,” Moren said. “Great teams show up no matter who the opponent is, so I gotta get them thinking differently in terms of their mindset.”

The Hoosiers will kick off their Big Ten season on the road against Rutgers on Saturday evening in pursuit to keep their winning streak alive.

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