Iowa’s offensive line acted as a police escort for Tyler Goodson’s trip to the end zone. With the entire right side of the field sealed, Goodson couldn’t have scored more easily from 56 yards out. The fourth play of the game carried four quarters of momentum as a Kinnick Stadium filled with 68,000 fans erupted and took hold of the game. “You’ve got to play high level football right out of the gate against a team like this,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said. “We didn’t.” In one of the most highly-anticipated season openers in Indiana football history, the No. 17 Hoosiers started on their heels and stayed there, falling to No. 18 Iowa 34-6. Throughout the game, any chance Indiana had to shift the momentum was immediately stalled.
Use the fields below to perform an advanced search of The Hoosier Network's archives. This will return articles, images, and multimedia relevant to your query.
155 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
As Indiana packs its bags for the first time this season, Hoosier Network staff members Tyler Tachman and Jack Ankony come together to answer some of the biggest questions facing the Hoosiers before they face off against Iowa on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST.
Tom Allen is glad he bought a basketball hoop with a breakaway rim. When Allen welcomed Indiana's defensive linemen to his home over the summer, the pass rushers played a friendly game of basketball. But the way Auburn transfer Jaren “Stone” Handy attacked the rim was anything but friendly. “I just like to dunk,” Handy said. “That’s it. I leave that shooting to everybody else.” If it weren’t for the breakaway rim, Allen said Handy would have completely destroyed the sturdy hoop in the their driveway with his violent slam dunks. “Our [basketball] goal survived,” Allen said. “But I left there just kind of like, ‘Whoa, that's different.’” At 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, Handy brings a level of size and athleticism that immediately stands out. Handy joins former Ole Miss Rebel Ryder Anderson as a pair of 6-foot-6 SEC pass rushers that transferred to become Hoosiers over the offseason. Allen has been intrigued by the duo’s strength and length, adding that pressuring the quarterback will be their No. 1 job come gameday. Defensive coordinator Charlton Warren sensed that Handy and Anderson bought into Indiana’s culture from the moment they stepped on campus, which has made for a smooth transition. Cornerback Tiawan Mullen has noticed the edge duo constantly swarming to the ball, always on the attack. Handy’s aggressive nature on the field stems from his love for wrestling growing up. The nickname “Stone” was coined by Handy’s grandmother in reference to WWE wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin. “I wasn’t the best kid on the block,” Handy said. “I wasn’t a good kid or nothing like that … Watching wrestling and watching [Stone Cold Steve Austin], he didn’t always do what people told him to do.”
After a breakout season resulted in 2020 Big Ten Receiver of the Year honors, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see Ty Fryfogle pack his bags and pursue his NFL aspirations. The Hoosiers had a breakout season of their own, defeating Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin in the same season for the first time in program history, but ended 2020 on a sour note with a 26-20 loss to Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl. For Fryfogle, this meant unfinished business. The 6-foot-2 receiver known for his leaping ability sat down with head coach Tom Allen and wide receiver coach Grant Heard during the offseason to discuss his future and came to the conclusion that he needed to stay in Bloomington. “I feel like [Allen and Heard] are the right guys that are going to help me achieve what I need to achieve along the way,” Fryfogle said. During this process, Allen’s confidence waned at times, but deep down always felt Fryfogle would return. After weighing personal development needs, coupled with a comparison to the rest of the wide receiver draft class, “Jump Ball” was back. Fryfogle announced in a Jan. 8 Tweet that he is “coming back on my worst behavior.”
As Michael Penix Jr. gears up for a season fresh off ACL surgery, protection from the offensive line is possibly the most crucial storyline for the 2021 Hoosiers. A year ago, Indiana led the Big Ten with the fewest sacks allowed per game at 1.25. But the Hoosiers also ranked 12th in the Big Ten in 2020 with 108 rushing yards per game. With these up-and-down results, finding consistency has been a major focus for run game coordinator and offensive line coach Darren Hiller during fall camp. Experience on the edge With the 6-foot-8, 350-pound Caleb Jones at left tackle flanked by the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Matthew Bedford on the right side, Indiana has two of the most imposing and experienced figures in the Big Ten. Entering his redshirt-senior season, Jones brings three seasons of prior starting experience to the Indiana line. Bedford has started since his freshman season in 2019 and said communication throughout fall camp has resulted in visible strides from the offensive line. A year ago, position groups were organized into smaller cohorts to avoid COVID-19 exposure, but the Hoosiers are now able to gather as a full offensive unit during team meetings. This has allowed Bedford and his teammates to communicate and correct mistakes in a more efficient manner. “We can form a better bond because we are all allowed to be together in one area,” Bedford said. “Being able to have a face-to-face interaction has been great for us.” Stanford transfer guard Dylan Powell returns to Indiana for his sixth collegiate season and second as a Hoosier. Fellow guard Mike Katic enters his redshirt sophomore year with six games under his belt and will be positioned next to center Zach Carpenter who transferred this offseason from Michigan. “This offseason was all about getting my weight under control,” Jones said. “Working as hard as I can so I can maximize the talents that I have this final season.” When Jones missed two games in 2020 due to injury, Luke Haggard stepped in to make four starts and appeared in six games at left tackle. While Haggard is listed behind behind Jones in the depth chart, his experience adds much needed depth in the physical Big Ten. A pair of home-grown redshirt freshman in Randy Holtz and Cameron Knight help round out the offensive line depth. Holtz was a 2019 Mr. Football finalist, and Knight was a 2019 Indiana Football Coaches Association All-State selection at Noblesville High School. Accepting the challenge As Hiller prepares for the 2021 season, a more aggressive mentality has been implemented in Indiana’s approach to the run game. Hiller recognized moments in the 2020 season where Indiana closed out games by generating first downs against heavy boxes, but said the consistency wasn’t there on a week-to-week basis. But in 2021, Hiller and the Hoosiers aren’t going to let the defense dictate their offensive schemes. When the opposing defense brings extra bodies toward the line, the offensive line has been focusing on recognizing the most important players to block and challenging the running backs to make defenders miss or run through them, Hiller said. Hiller emphasized that just because the defense has stacked the box, that doesn’t mean Indiana is forced to throw the ball. “We also have to be able to say, ‘You know what, we don’t care how many dudes are in there,’" Hiller said. NFL eyes When Indiana hired Deland McCullough as an associate head coach and running backs coach this spring, Tom Allen said the Hoosiers will benefit from McCullough’s “NFL eyes.” Coming off three seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs’ running backs coach, McCullough brings a new perspective than can help Indiana’s run game become more versatile. Whether it be zone, gap or man schemes, Hiller said Indiana’s coaching staff all come from different backgrounds that can benefit each situation. Having the opportunity to look at things through different lenses will aid in adjusting to what the defense throws at them. “You can go out there and get a playbook this big and have a lot of really fancy plays in it,” Hiller said. “But if the kids can’t do it, it doesn’t matter.” Jones said the run game has been the focus for most of fall camp, and the line is working to open gaps for the running backs. Tim Baldwin Jr. was listed at the top of Indiana’s first depth chart at running back, and with the late transfer of Sampson James, USC transfer Stephen Carr will also compete for carries. “I truly believe we can go as far as we want to go as a unit,” Jones said. “As far as we are willing to work and prepare to go is how far we will go.” Previous position previews Secondary, Wide Receivers, Running Back, Linebackers
When Deland McCullough Jr. was 13 years old, he started to fall in love with Indiana football. Deland Jr. and his younger brothers Dasan and Daeh used to tag along with their father Deland Sr. to Indiana football practices and games when he coached running backs from 2011 to 2016. Deland Jr. remembers trying to work out in the Indiana weight room. Now, it’s where he is starting to meet his new teammates. “I had dreams of playing at IU even when I was young,” Deland Jr. said. “Just IU football and everything, the atmosphere. It just became a reality here in the last couple of months.” On April 24, Deland Jr. announced his new beginnings as he decided to transfer to Indiana from Miami (OH). After playing in three games over two seasons at Miami (OH), Deland Jr. is excited for the new challenge as he steps up to the higher level that is Big Ten football. “It’s been a long road but I’m really excited,” Deland Jr. said. “I’m really liking what’s going on so far and I can’t wait for this thing to really get moving.” This dream became a reality for Deland Jr. after his father decided to return to coaching at Indiana. And eventually, Dasan and Daeh will don the cream and crimson to complete the family reunion. While playing in Bloomington has been on Deland Jr.’s mind for nearly a decade, it wasn’t always as likely as it now seems.
Indiana will have a chance to see how it stacks up against one of the greatest college football programs for the first time since 1991. But this opportunity won’t come until the next decade, as Indiana has scheduled a home-and-home series with Notre Dame for the 2030 and 2031 seasons. It’s impossible to predict the trajectory of two programs with 10 years between now and then, but it's a telling sign of what head coach Tom Allen is building. "I'm looking forward to facing one of the most storied programs in the history of college football," Allen said. "It's tremendous for the state of Indiana and for our fans, and it will be a great opportunity for our players." Allen and Athletic Director Scott Dolson are starting to set their sights higher than scheduling in-state opponents like Ball State or Indiana State. They believe the Hoosiers belong on the same field as the top programs in the country. And in 2021, Indiana has a chance to prove that.
Offseason storylines: Moren inks new contract, Patberg returns, Penn and Warthen enter transfer portal
A historic season resulted in a well-deserved pay day for Indiana head coach Teri Moren. Three days after Indiana lost to Arizona in the Elite Eight, Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson secured the leader of the women’s basketball program through the 2026-2027 season. Moren’s contract includes an annual salary of $862,500 plus bonuses for late-season success. These bonuses are given for Big Ten regular and postseason championships, NCAA Tournament or WNIT Tournament participation and victories, conference or national coach of the year accolades and team academic accomplishments. This contract puts Moren among the highest-paid coaches in the Big Ten. Dolson said in over 30 years with the Indiana athletic department, he has never been more excited about the future of Indiana women’s basketball. He said Moren’s new contract places her in the upper echelon among her conference peers, rewards her achievements and recognizes the upper trajectory of the program. Indiana University and IU Women's Basketball Coach Teri Moren agree to new deal thru 2027 ?: https://t.co/rp8rbqfMWr — Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) April 1, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js “Teri Moren is the architect of an unprecedented era of success for our women’s basketball program, and I’m excited that we have agreed to a new deal that ensures she will be here for many years to come,” Dolson said. “With six straight 20-win seasons and this year’s run to the Elite Eight, Teri has built our program into one of the very best in the Big Ten.” Now that the Hoosiers have their undisputed leader for the foreseeable future, they are back to work in pursuit of more NCAA Tournament success. Moren said the team will use a few weeks to rest their bodies, but it is right back to work after that. Let’s break down the top storylines heading into the offseason. Penn, Warthen enter transfer portal Jaelynn Penn decided to opt out for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season on Feb. 7. Penn started each of Indiana’s 103 games during her first three seasons in Bloomington. She dealt with an ankle injury throughout her senior year, and opted out shortly after returning from injury. Penn was a double-digit scorer in each of her first three seasons, and was a valuable offensive weapon alongside Ali Patberg and Grace Berger. The program has kept quiet regarding Penn’s decision to transfer, and Penn has yet to say where she will play next season. A member of the same recruiting class as Penn, senior Keyanna Warthen announced on Wednesday that she has also entered the transfer portal. Warthen started just one game as a Hoosier, but provided strong defensive play off the bench. As Indiana continued its record-breaking season, Warthen became the winningest player in Indiana women’s basketball history. This is a testament to how impressive Moren and the Hoosiers have been over the past four seasons, and means that the Hoosiers are losing someone who played a big role in Indiana’s winning culture. Like Penn, Warthen has not yet decided where she will be playing next season. Patberg, starting five return News that is perhaps more impactful than the two transfers broke on Wednesday, as well. Ali Patberg, the heart and soul of the women’s basketball program, announced that she will return to Bloomington for her seventh season. See you next season Hoosiers! Unfinished business @IndianaWBB pic.twitter.com/6cAFehsAH0 — Ali Patberg (@alipaige_14) March 31, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js “See you next season Hoosiers! Unfinished business,” Patberg said in a Twitter post. Patberg was allowed to return due to the NCAA’s decision to allow each player an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19. Patberg tore her ACL during her freshman season at Notre Dame, and sat out during her third year of college when she transferred to Indiana. Because of this, Patberg will be one of, if not the most experienced player in women’s college basketball during the 2021-2022 season. Patberg will return to an Indiana roster that will look very similar to this year’s, aside from the loss of Penn and Warthen. Barring any late additions to the transfer portal, Indiana will return the entire starting five that reached the Elite Eight. Grace Berger and Mackenzie Holmes will return as first-team All-Big Ten players, alongside Aleksa Gulbe who has started 57 games over the past two seasons and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary who stepped into a starting role when Penn opted out. This means the Hoosiers have a chance to be even better next year after gaining valuable experience during a run to the Elite Eight. Depth, 3-point shooting areas of concern While the Hoosiers project to return the entire starting five from the program’s deepest NCAA Tournament run, there are still questions to be answered. Indiana’s Elite Eight loss to Arizona revealed a number of issues that had existed for the majority of the 2020-2021 season, but were never fixed. Indiana shot 0-for-9 from 3 against Arizona, and finished the year shooting 28 percent from beyond the arc. Moren and the Hoosiers proved they can lock down on defense and score in the paint to win games like they did over top-seeded NC State, but poor outside shooting can quickly derail a season. Berger and Gulbe were the only Hoosiers to shoot above 30 percent from 3 this season, aside from Danielle Patterson and Warthen who combined for 17 attempts. Chloe Moore-McNeil showed flashes of 3-point shooting ability when she hit two 3s in a row against Michigan, but finished the season 4-for-27. The transfer of Penn and Warthen also begs a question about Indiana’s depth. During the NCAA tournament, Indiana only scored 11 points off the bench, eight of which came when the game was already decided against Belmont. Each player who is projected to come off Indiana’s bench next season averaged 2.1 points or fewer, playing below 10 minutes per game. Moren said after Indiana’s loss to Arizona that she could notice Holmes was fatigued, which makes bench development even more important. Kiandra Browne is a candidate to take the next step in a year, as she showed flashes of tough post defense and finishing ability in the paint. Paige Price joined the team midway through the season, and will be another intriguing player to come off the bench next year. Price was ranked as the No. 1 ranked player in Australia by Aussie Basketball USA Pathways, the No. 3 international player and a four-star recruit by Premier Basketball Report. On a global scale, Price was rated the No. 55 overall recruit by All Star Girls Report. With the talent Indiana boasts in the starting lineup, it doesn’t need a very deep, productive bench. But if one or two players can emerge as a reliable 3-point shooter or a backup forward, it could go a long way to helping the Hoosiers reach an even higher level.
Hoosiers gain valuable tournament experience, 'feel the love' of growing fanbase during Elite Eight run
When a shooter is hot, they’re hot. With 5:25 left in the game, Indiana trailed by just three points. Indiana head coach Teri Moren crouched down on the sideline and begged for a stop. Defense was how the Hoosiers reached the Elite Eight, and a stop is what they needed most down the stretch. Arizona's Cate Reese set a high ball screen for the PAC-12 leading scorer Aari McDonald, trying to free her up for another shot. Nicole Cardaño-Hillary went under the screen, but McDonald’s release was too quick. In a way, this was the dagger. Arizona took a 54-48 lead, and Indiana went on to score just five points in the final five minutes of game. Arizona defeated Indiana 66-53 in the Mercado Region Final to advance to the program’s first Final Four.
Rapid Reaction: Aari McDonald lights up Indiana, season-long struggles plague Hoosiers in Elite Eight loss to Arizona
The best season in Indiana women’s basketball history ended with season-long problems that couldn’t be fixed. The Hoosiers entered the game shooting 28 percent from 3, and walked off the court on Monday night shooting 0-for-9 from beyond the arc. Indiana struggled to contain Arizona guard Aari McDonald, and was sent packing with a 66-53 loss in the Elite Eight. The third-seeded Arizona Wildcats advance to the program’s first Final Four appearance, and will face top-seeded UConn for a chance to advance to the National Championship game. Former Indiana guard Bendu Yeaney transferred to Arizona during the 2019-2020 season, and has played a crucial role in Arizona’s tournament run. On Monday night, Yeaney scored three points points, grabbed five rebounds and continued her high level of on-ball defense that Indiana fans remember. The Hoosiers had a tough time defending Yeaney’s teammate Aari McDonald, who finished the regular season as the PAC-12 leading scorer. McDonald entered the game averaging 19.8 points per game, and kept up with this mark Monday, scoring 33 points and 11 rebounds on 12-for-20 shooting.
Indiana was on the verge of letting a 13-point fourth quarter lead slip away. But Ali Patberg said the Indiana locker room has a different type of mentality. After Patberg’s free throw gave Indiana a three-point lead with 12 seconds left, the Hoosiers just needed one stop. “Our coaches had us ready for whatever they were going to come out and run,” Patberg said. “We knew we were going to get a stop.” NC State guard Raina Perez drove to the basket on the last possession, but she was cut off by Aleksa Gulbe as she looked to shoot. Perez kicked it out to Elissa Cunane, but the 38 percent 3-point shooter didn’t draw rim. Indiana escaped with a 73-70 win over top-seeded NC State, and advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. “We have continued to deposit work every day, make those deposits,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “This is where it's led us.” Ali Patberg and Mackenzie Holmes spoke to @autumnjohnsontv about the historic win to advance to the Elite 8️⃣ and facing No. 3 Arizona ‼️ No. 4 Indiana will make its first Elite 8 appearance ever against the Wildcats. #ncaaW pic.twitter.com/ImDuPSYzNf — NCAA Women’s Basketball (@ncaawbb) March 28, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Paving their own path Moren said the tradition of Indiana basketball has always been on the men’s side, but on Saturday night, the women’s team continued to build its own tradition. Indiana has come a long way since its 2018 WNIT championship, but that run has sparked what Indiana is now accomplishing. “When people talk about Indiana women's basketball, Indiana basketball, we didn't want it to be exclusive just to the men's side,” Moren said. Moren said aside from the improvements on the court, a major factor in the growth of the program has been due to popularity gained from the WNIT run in 2018. Indiana hosted six games at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall during this run, and with each game, the crowd got bigger and bigger. “I think it sort of jump-started what we have been trying to do here,” Moren said. “And that's win consistently, win in big moments.” After the WNIT championship, Indiana’s goals quickly shifted. Moren hasn’t been afraid to set ambitious goals for her team this year, and that started back in 2018. Moren continued to raise the bar for her program, which meant NCAA Tournament aspirations moving forward. "Our expectations are going to be high. Why wouldn't they be?" Teri Moren has been vocal about her team's goals this year, and last night checked another box. #iuwbb pic.twitter.com/EAIEy8p2CA — The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) March 28, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js “That experience was unbelievable in so many ways,” Moren said. “But that didn't become the goal.” Indiana’s focus then turned to the Big Dance. The 2018-2019 season concluded with a round of 32 loss to Oregon. That came after IU beat Texas for the Hoosiers’ sixth NCAA Tournament win in program history, and it raised Moren’s expectations even more. Before COVID-19 put an end to the 2019-2020 season, Indiana was on track to earn a four or five seed in the NCAA Tournament, and Moren’s goal was to make a deep run. This benchmark stayed the same at the beginning of this year, but Indiana is still not satisfied as it approaches the program’s first Elite Eight appearance. “I'll tell you this,” Moren said. "That group is not quite done yet. They're eager to play some more basketball. I'm here for it.” A familiar face A player that helped grow the Indiana women’s basketball program will now be trying to stop its run on Monday night. Former Indiana guard Bendu Yeaney is now a member of the Arizona Wildcats and has started 21 of the team’s 24 games this year. Last March, Yeaney decided to transfer to the University of Arizona after being a Hoosier for just over two seasons. Yeaney stated 69 games for Indiana in her first two years, and appeared in six games during the 2019-2020 season before leaving the team. Yeaney was a key member of the 2018-2019 Indiana team that reached the second round of the tournament. In the Hoosiers’ round of 32 loss to Oregon, Yeaney tore her achilles and endured nine months of recovery and work to get back on the court. When playing for Indiana, it was clear that everyone was aware of her defensive prowess. Yeaney was known to always guard the opponent’s best player, who she would often frustrate by the end of games. This means Monday night could produce matchups with Yeaney guarding Patberg and Grace Berger on the perimeter. HALF | Northwestern 37, Indiana 26. Hoosiers shoot just 9-of-30 from the field in the first half, but picked up this buzzer beating 3-pointer from Bendu Yeaney to end the first quarter. #iuwbb pic.twitter.com/IaWkWqFdsU — The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) January 17, 2019 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Yeaney doesn’t play quite as big of a role on Arizona as she did for Indiana, but her importance is clear, nonetheless. She plays nearly 23 minutes per game and is averaging 4.1 points and three rebounds. Leading up to this matchup, Moren recognized the connection, but is looking at Arizona as a complete team. “We don’t talk about other opponents in pieces, other than tendencies and how we’re going to guard certain things,” Moren said. “So there’s no emotional connection to having Bendu on the Arizona side. I mean...it’s not Indiana against Bendu. It’s Indiana against Arizona, and so that’s what our focus is.” Aside from Yeaney, Arizona poses a number of challenges for Indiana. Aari McDonald is the PAC-12 leading scorer at 19.8 points per game and also leads the conference in steals with 2.8 per game. McDonald is a high-volume scorer, but it also takes her a lot of shots to get there. She attempts over six 3-pointers per game on average, but is shooting just 31 percent from deep. McDonald will likely take between 15 and 20 shots on Monday night, which means it will be key for the Hoosiers to make them difficult looks at the basket. Look forward to a grind-it-out style of play from both sides on Monday. Arizona is ranked second in points allowed per game in the PAC-12, and Moren always demands that her teams dig in on the defensive end. The big picture Indiana picked up the biggest win in program history on Saturday night versus NC State. Moren often talks about her team’s 24-hour rule, which will be especially important as the Hoosiers face a quick turnaround. Moren’s rule is that she lets herself and the team enjoy the victory for 24 hours, but it is back to business after that. It is clear how much the Hoosiers have enjoyed their NCAA Tournament run, and they should. S̶W̶E̶E̶T̶ ➡️ ELITE #iuwbb | #ncaaw pic.twitter.com/jiFTDm1jph — Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) March 28, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js But with just one day in between games, Moren’s 24-hour rule was likely shortened. The NCAA Tournament is not only a test of each team’s skill, but also endurance and preparation. Indiana’s early exit in the Big Ten tournament could turn out to be a good thing, as the Hoosiers gained a few extra days to rest in between. Patberg spoke of her confidence in the coaching staff down the stretch against NC State, but the jobs of Indiana’s staff will only continue to be more challenging. Indiana has been able to overcome struggles, but a few areas of concern remain. Indiana shot just 2-for-14 from beyond the arc against NC State, which means Indiana is 8-for-38 from 3 during the NCAA Tournament. Indiana is shooting just 28 percent from 3 as as team this season, which means Moren and the Hoosiers know how to win without hitting threes, but the numbers are objectively poor. Moren said after the NC State game that she wants Indiana to push the ball in transition, which will result in easy looks. Strong defense and toughness have become the identity of this team, and leading up to the biggest game in program history, Moren isn’t changing anything about what got her team to this point. “We are who we are,” Moren said. “We are blue-collar. We're going to roll up our sleeves and we're going to step between the lines and we're going to go to work. It's a competitive environment, we're going to try to go toe-to-toe with you. We're not going to back down from anybody.”
Indiana went straight to what’s been the easiest source of scoring all year. Mackenzie Holmes was fouled on the Hoosiers’ first possession of the game, knocked down both free throws and asserted herself in the post immediately. It was clear from the opening tip that head coach Teri Moren stressed feeding Holmes, and it helped Indiana get off to a quick start. “Whenever we can get the ball in Mackenzie’s hands early that’s a good thing,” Grace Berger said. Holmes scored eight of her 13 points in the first quarter, and Indiana did not look back on its way to the first Sweet 16 appearance in program history, defeating Belmont 70-48. “There’s a lot of excitement in the locker room,” Berger said. “Any time you are the first team in the program to do something it’s a big deal.” When Moren sat down for the postgame press conference, it was clear that the Hoosiers were more than just excited in the locker room. But after all Indiana has gone through this season, she said it was worth it. “Wet pants, wet shirt, wet hair, in order to watch the pure joy that these kids have right now is well worth it,” Moren said.
Indiana continued its record-setting season on March 22 with a 63-32 win over No. 13 VCU. The Rams’ 32 points mark the fewest points allowed by a Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament. Outscoring VCU 41-15 in the second half, the Hoosiers cruised their way to a round-of-64 victory, and will face 12-seeded Belmont in the round of 32 on March 24. This game will tip off at 5 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU. Let’s break down Indiana’s matchup with Belmont. Showdown with potential Cinderella team The 12 seed defeating the five seed is a classic upset pick come tournament time, and Belmont is the latest team to pull it off. On Monday, the Bruins defeated No. 5 Gonzaga 64-59 behind 25 points from guard Destinee Wells. After a shaky first quarter, Belmont faced a nine-point deficit, but took care of the ball when it needed to down the stretch. Belmont finished with just six turnovers compared to 20 from Gonzaga. The Bruins turned it on after a slow start, outscoring Gonzaga 39 to 22 in the second and third quarters. Indiana has prided itself on being strong with the ball, which presents an interesting matchup with a Belmont defense that is eager for steals. Can't get rid of us that quick.#ncaaW pic.twitter.com/0GsxybNvC4 — Belmont WBasketball (@BelmontWBB) March 23, 2021 Indiana’s most experienced leaders, Grace Berger and Ali Patberg, are the likely candidates to spend the majority of the game defending Wells. This recipe has led Indiana to one of its most successful seasons in program history, and will be relied upon again on Wednesday. [READ: 'No secret sauce': How Grace Berger, Mackenzie Holmes transformed themselves into two of the Big Ten's best] Wells is a 5-foot-6 freshman from Lakeland, Tennessee. She has led the way for Belmont all year, averaging 17.9 points and 4.7 assists per game, and will challenge Indiana’s defense to limit her shots. Wells is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range, 47 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free-throw line. Belmont finished second in the Ohio Valley Conference during the regular season, but made a run in the conference tournament to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins are riding an 11-game win streak and have not lost since Feb. 9 versus Southeast Missouri. Building off a clean performance Teri Moren prefers her teams to dig in on the defensive end first and foremost, which is exactly how the Hoosiers won their first game of the tournament. Indiana did not let anyone on VCU score in double digits, and the Hoosiers forced 14 turnovers on Monday. Indiana was quick to close out on shots against VCU, forcing the Rams to shoot just 22 percent from the field. VCU was 2-for-8 from beyond the arc, and Indiana defended well without fouling, as VCU attempted just six free throws. Got the first ✅ Roll back the highlights on yesterday’s #ncaaW win #iuwbb pic.twitter.com/wvPRUuteEo — Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) March 23, 2021 But it wasn’t just the defense that clicked for IU on Monday. Three Hoosiers finished with double-digit points, and Berger paced Indiana with 20 points. Offensively, Indiana was smart with the ball and didn’t allow VCU to capitalize on bad decisions. Turning the ball over just seven times, Indiana controlled the pace and didn’t let VCU run in transition. This forced the Rams to play a half-court game on a day where shots simply weren’t falling. The Hoosiers took advantage of this and scored 17 points off turnovers. The big picture Indiana skated by VCU on Monday, but that doesn’t mean things will be easy moving forward. Consistent trends that have hurt Indiana are still present and leave questions as to how deep of a run it will make. Against VCU, Indiana shot 5-for-18 from 3-point land, a category that has been unfriendly to the Hoosiers this year. As a team, Indiana shoots 29 percent from 3, which is unlikely to improve too drastically unless a player gets uncharacteristically hot. This means Indiana will need to continue to rely on defense to create offensive opportunities, and let Berger and Patberg control the pace and style of play. With Gonzaga being upset by Belmont, the Hoosiers could have caught a bit of a break with an easier second-round opponent. Rutgers, the six seed in Indiana’s bracket, was upset by BYU to create a decent amount of chaos in the Mercado Region. Still, NC State and Texas A&M remain alive as the region’s top two seeds. If Indiana hopes to keep surviving and advancing, improved 3-point shooting could be the X-factor. The Hoosiers have shown the ability to win without lighting it up from beyond the arc, but will need a near-perfect offensive showing to pull off an upset in later rounds. Indiana is still lacking production from its bench, which has been an area of concern since the opt-out due to injury of Jaelynn Penn in early February. Even in a 31-point win, Indiana’s bench scored zero points and attempted just four shots. Indiana will have to ride the strength of its starters, who can compete with top teams in the country, but playing a complete game against a top seed with limited bench production could be the Hoosiers’ downfall.
'No secret sauce': How Grace Berger, Mackenzie Holmes transformed themselves into two of Big Ten's best
A simple entry pass, a spin move to the left block and two easy points for Mackenzie Holmes. Grace Berger couldn’t help but understate how impressive her third triple-double of the season was. “When you have teammates that can make shots like that, it’s not too hard,” Berger said. Indiana head coach Teri Moren didn’t sub Berger out down the stretch of Indiana’s 90-65 win over Penn State on Feb. 10. She wanted Berger to complete her third triple-double of the season, and third in program history. Forward Mackenzie Holmes said she knew when Berger only needed one more assist to complete this feat, but didn’t feel any pressure to help her teammate. The two have built a strong relationship over the past two seasons, and confidence in each other is clear on the court. “That kind of took the pressure off because I knew she was going to make a great pass in order for me to get a quick score,” Holmes said.
'Making the days count': Marcelino McCrary-Ball returns for sixth year after watching memorable 2020 season from sideline
Instead of trying to intercept Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, or defending Jahan Dotson in the secondary, Marcelino McCrary-Ball recorded the game on Instagram Live. It was a way to connect with his team, even if he wouldn’t put on shoulder pads or lace his cleats for months. McCrary-Ball had surgery to repair a torn ACL on Oct. 24, 2020, the same day Indiana hosted No. 8 Penn State. But that didn’t stop him from supporting the teammates for whom he cared so deeply. McCrary-Ball said it was good to see Indiana "ball out," but one question remained in his mind. “I didn’t have no negative thoughts,” McCrary-Ball said. “It was more so just like, ‘Shoot, can I go out there and play?’” Obviously, McCrary-Ball wasn’t physically able to take the field. But emotionally, he was with his teammates during their upset of Penn State, capped off by Michael Penix Jr.’s dive for the pylon in overtime. "Shoot, can I go out there and play?" Marcelino McCrary-Ball had ACL surgery on the same day as Indiana's memorable win over Penn State, but wished he could be on the field with his team. #iufb pic.twitter.com/PD7c63dZkd — The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) March 11, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js It’s clear that McCrary-Ball misses running out of the tunnel with his team, but after the NCAA granted every Division I football player an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, all is not lost. The 2021 season will be the second year in a row that the word "senior" relates McCrary-Ball’s name. It will also be his sixth year in Bloomington. “I had to take advantage of that,” McCrary-Ball said. “That doesn’t happen. It’s a blessing in disguise, I guess, and I appreciate it.” McCrary-Ball was an honorable mention to the 2016 All-Big Ten team and Indiana’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year. In 2017, he received a medical redshirt after a season-ending injury resulted in him playing just three games as a sophomore. During his redshirt sophomore season, McCrary-Ball finished in the top three on the team in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles and pass breakups. A similarly successful redshirt junior season led to big expectations for McCrary-Ball’s fifth year as a Hoosier. But head coach Tom Allen announced on Sept. 28, 2020 that McCrary-Ball tore his ACL, sidelining McCrary-Ball for the entire 2020 season. In September, Allen said the injury was specifically frustrating because it happened in a non-contact drill. ACL injuries take certain athletes a full year to recover, but McCrary-Ball wondered if he could still contribute on Indiana’s 2020 defense in some way. On Nov. 14, as Indiana prepared to avenge its 2019 loss to Michigan State, McCrary-Ball thought a quick Google search might give him an answer. “I remember looking up ‘When’s the quickest you can come back from an ACL surgery?’” McCrary-Ball said. McCrary-Ball admits that two or three months after his surgery, he probably still couldn’t play man-to-man coverage or blitz, but maybe he could contribute in Indiana’s cover-three or cover-four package. Still, all McCrary-Ball could do was watch from the sidelines as the Indiana defense finished second in the country with 17 interceptions in just eight games. “I was sitting there like, ‘Man, they’re going off, they’re balling,’” McCrary-Ball said. But he remembers one game in 2020 when Indiana running back Stevie Scott did not play particularly well. In this moment, McCrary ball stressed four simple words that showed his leadership. “It could be worse,” McCrary-Ball told Scott, smiling. “Dang, man, I didn’t have a good game,” Scott said as he stared at he ground, his head shaking in frustration. “It could be worse, buddy,” McCrary-Ball reassured Scott. What McCrary-Ball meant in that moment was that Scott could have no game at all. He could be standing on the sideline with a torn ACL, anxiously waiting like McCrary-Ball did all year. He couldn’t lead on the field, but these natural qualities still prevailed on the sideline. McCrary-Ball said that throughout the 2020 season, he battled with his trainers to get him on the field at some point. His leadership and experience would have helped the Indiana defense a season ago, but he could have an even greater impact in 2021. McCrary-Ball had ACL surgery on the same day as teammates Sam Daugstrup and Khalil Benson, and together, they are working towards a return to the field. McCrary-Ball said he is not yet practicing fully with the team, but is eager to be back when the time is right. The next time Indiana fans will see McCrary-Ball in the defensive backfield will be under the direction of a new defensive coordinator. On Jan. 27, Indiana announced that Charlton Warren will replace Kane Wommack, who took the head coaching job at South Alabama. Warren first entered the coaching realm in 2005 when he became a graduate assistant at Air Force. He worked his way up the ladder, holding jobs as defensive backs coach, recruiting coordinator, co-defensive coordinator, associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Air Force. He later coached defensive backs at Nebraska, North Carolina and Tennessee before becoming the cornerbacks coach at Florida. As Warren prepares to lead Indiana’s defense in 2021, McCrary-Ball has been impressed with his new coach. No matter who is coaching the defense, McCrary-Ball mentions three qualities that will always remain: playing with an edge, tackling and takeaways. McCrary-Ball said that no matter what coverage the defense is in or how many guys are blitzing on a given play, these three traits are vital. “That’s what we live by,” McCrary-Ball said. “And that’s what we’re going to die by. if we don’t have that, it’s lost.” Edge. Tackling. Takeaways. "That's what we're going to live by. That's what we're going to die by." Indiana has a new DC in Charlton Warren, but Marcelino McCrary-Ball said these three principles will always prevail. #iufb pic.twitter.com/3amJcLO2uF — The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) March 11, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Indiana will still run Allen’s signature 4-2-5 defense, and McCrary-Ball figures to play an integral role. Before his ACL injury, McCrary-Ball was slotted to start at Indiana’s husky position, which is a position that combines the pass-rushing and run-stopping responsibilities of a linebacker with the pass coverage responsibilities of a defensive back. And when he returns, he doesn’t want people to call him an "old head," even if there’s a chance he’s the oldest player on the field each week in 2021. McCrary-Ball said during his true senior season in 2019, he used to think he was an "old head," which is a nickname players give to fourth- or fifth-year players. “Pretty much as an old head you walk around like, ‘Dang, I’m old. I’ve seen all this.’ And that stuff really gets in your head. You’ll start moving like an old man,” McCrary-Ball said. But before the 2020 season, even prior to his ACL injury, McCrary-Ball said he worked to change this mentality. Part of this is because he has been there to see it all. “I don’t really see myself as an old head, I’ve just been here and that’s cool,” McCrary-Ball said. “I’ve experienced it all. I know what it feels like, metaphorically speaking, when the lights are off.” "I don't really see myself as an 'old head.'" Entering his sixth year as a Hoosier, Marcelino McCrary-Ball has seen it all, but doesn't want to be called old. Ball said he is making his days in Bloomington count, and isn't finished just yet. #iufb pic.twitter.com/XNkamZC3SG — The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) March 11, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Barely defeating Ball State in 2016, followed by two 5-7 seasons in a row, McCrary-Ball has been there for the struggle. Now, seeing a 2020 season where Indiana defeated Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all in the same season for the first time in program history, McCrary-Ball is here for the rise. “It’s crazy,” McCrary-Ball said. “But as far as being here so long, that don’t really phase me because everyone’s time is going to come. I’m making the days count.”
INDIANAPOLIS -- Ali Patberg drove the lane and threw the ball towards the rim in desperation. Indiana trailed by seven points with under two minutes in the game, and needed a basket in the worst way possible. The ball made soft contact with the rim and trickled in as the whistle blew. Foul. Made basket. And one. It was a spectacular play by Indiana’s sixth-year senior, but the sentiment represented Indiana’s offense in the second half. Desperate. Indiana shot 37 percent from the field in the second half and missed all six 3-point attempts Thursday. Ten second-half turnovers didn’t help, either. The majority of fans socially-distanced at Bankers Life Fieldhouse were cheering on the Hoosiers, but ultimately left disappointed. Indiana played one of its weaker second halves of the season, and fell to Michigan State 69-61. “It makes me sick to my stomach that we performed like that in front of them,” Patberg said. Indiana allowed the fewest first-half points to an opponent on Thursday since Feb. 24 at Wisconsin, but the second half was a different story. Nia Clouden poured in 30 points, and Indiana had nothing to slow her down. “Clouden, she was unstoppable and we didn’t have an answer for her,” Patberg said. Early in the third quarter, Nicole Cardaño-Hillary picked up her fourth foul of the game, leaving the Hoosiers’ backcourt thin. Jaelynn Penn opted out of the rest of the season on Feb. 7, leaving Cardaño-Hillary to slot into a starting role. The Hoosiers already lost a bit of depth with the departure of Penn, who was a three-and-a-half year starter, but limiting Cardaño-Hillary’s minutes put Indiana in an unprecedented situation. There wasn’t a young freshman to step up or another guard off the bench to provide outside shooting, so Indiana rode the players who brought the team to a program-best No. 9 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll: Grace Berger and Ali Patberg. At times, this felt like the only consistent source of offense for Indiana. Leaning on your two best guards isn’t a bad thing, but it begs an important question as Indiana’s focus shifts to the NCAA Tournament. Does Indiana have enough complementary pieces to make a deep NCAA Tournament run? Mackenzie Holmes is certainly a high-level player in the Big Ten, but Indiana’s offensive mentality doesn’t lend itself well to feeding the post when it’s losing. Michigan State was 3-for-4 from 3 in the fourth quarter, so trading twos for 3’s simply doesn’t add up. Holmes scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, which is in line with her season average. But on a night when Indiana shoots 11-for-18 from the free-throw line and 2-for-11 from 3, it wasn’t enough. Even further, Indiana’s bench scored zero points on Thursday night. It’s clear that moving forward to the NCAA Tournament, Indiana desperately needs another complementary scorer to step up in a meaningful way. With a quarterfinal loss to No. 7-seeded Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament, Indiana will also likely see its NCAA Tournament seed drop. Before March 11, ESPN’s Charlie Creme projected Indiana to earn a three seed in the NCAA Tournament. But as the Hoosiers drive back to Bloomington and watch the rest of the conference tournaments, this projection will surely drop. Indiana still looks to earn a four-seed in the tournament, but any hope of defeating Rutgers or Maryland to jump to the two-seed line is out the window. “We’re going to be a lot better from this,” Patberg said. “This sucks right now...We have to own how we played tonight." While head coach Teri Moren and the Hoosiers were frustrated in Thursday’s performance, Moren said there is no time to dwell on the negative. “I have one of the most competitive groups that I’ve ever had. They’re disappointed, yet they’re looking forward to what’s next.”
Moren, Hoosiers haven't forgotten feeling of last March as preparation for deep tournament run begins
Indiana’s first game of the 2021 Big Ten tournament on March 11 will mark exactly one year since the women’s basketball team was sent home last spring due to COVID-19. A year ago, the Hoosiers were vying for a four seed in the NCAA Tournament, which meant tournament games in Assembly Hall. A year ago, Brenna Wise was looking to make her final mark on a program she worked so hard to revive with a deep run in March. A year ago, everything stopped instantly. “Last year there were so many uncertainties when we were sent home,” Mackenzie Holmes said. “The fact that we get the opportunity to play in the postseason this year is something that we weren’t even sure was going to happen.” Flash forward to now, and it has been a year of records for Indiana. The highest ranking in the AP Top 25 poll in program history at No. 9. The most conference wins in a season with 16. And almost assuredly, the highest seed in the NCAA Tournament the Indiana women have ever received. Do those accomplishment take away the pain from missing out on an NCAA Tournament run last year? Indiana players have said no, but the Hoosiers may be more motivated now than ever to make up for what was taken a year ago. “We were excited about the deep run we were hoping to make in the postseason last year,” head coach Teri Moren said. “Now you speed it up to where it is today and the excitement we have today is no different than we had a year ago. I think that our grateful meter is higher than it has ever been.” A year ago, when the only way Moren could see the faces of her players was through zoom, they talked about how much they missed being in the gym together. Moren has a team full of workers, and to not be in the gym every day just didn’t feel right. “I tell everybody all of the time, there is no secret sauce, there’s no magic pill to becoming a great player,” Moren said. “It happens because of your work.” Luckily for Moren, it doesn’t always take a message from her to get her players to work hard. Moren mentioned Holmes, Ali Patberg, Grace Berger and Aleksa Gulbe as players who have a special kind of work ethic. “These are kids that get in the gym and work on their craft every day and they get a little bit better every day,” Moren said. “The blessing that we have is that we have more than one that is willing to do that everyday.” Now that the Hoosiers have been able to get back in the gym together, being grateful has been a main sentiment throughout the team. Grateful that they have a gym to practice in. Grateful they had teammates to lean on when they couldn’t go home to see their families for Christmas. And most of all, grateful that they have an opportunity to compete for a national championship this year. Moren recently gave the team two consecutive off days in order to rest up before postseason play. And when a team plays 18 grueling Big Ten games in the span of just over two months, two days can feel like an eternity. “Playing a Big Ten schedule, you have to grind it out every single night always playing good teams,” Berger said. “So I think we refreshed our minds, refreshed our bodies going into this week.” Berger admits no amount of rest can prepare a team for potentially three days of Big Ten basketball in a row, but she said the team is ready. For Moren, it was important to give her team time to physically rest, but said the mental aspect was just as important. “I think from a physical standpoint, we are the best shape we have ever been in our lives,” Moren said. “Mentally, you have to lean on your experience...We will lean on them, and Ali is built for this, I can tell you that. She is built for this moment and so is Grace Berger, and they will lead us without any doubt.” The amount of experience on this team can’t be questioned. Moren and the players have said they are in incredible shape heading into postseason play. Indiana projects to be a three seed in the NCAA tournament, which sets up a favorable path. Holmes and Berger were recently named first-team All-Big Ten players, with Patberg on the second team. So what is stopping the Hoosiers from a deep run in March? To put it simply, winning six games in a row against the best teams in the country is very difficult. Moren and the Hoosiers believe they have what it takes to make a deep run, and if anything is certain, the feeling of last year’s tournament being taken away will be at the front of their minds. “We’re never taking a moment for granted again,” Berger said. “We are super excited to finally get a chance to show what we can do in the postseason."
Big Ten tournament preview: Hoosiers ride nine-game win streak with chance to improve NCAA Tournament seeding
A nine-game win streak to finish the regular season has the Indiana women’s basketball team positioned as the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers are playing some of their best basketball of late, and look to continue their historic season on March. 11 versus the winner of Michigan State and Penn State. On Monday, Indiana rose one spot in the AP Top 25 poll to No. 9, which marks the highest ranking in program history. Indiana’s 16 conference victories also set a program record in a season where the Hoosiers played two fewer conference games than usual due to COVID-19. Let’s break down the most intriguing storylines of the 2021 Big Ten tournament.
Ryder Anderson wasn’t aware of Tom Allen and Indiana’s "LEO" mantra. But when he first stepped foot on campus, he could notice the impact right away. “As soon as I got here I noticed the relationships,” Anderson said. “They all brought me in the same way.” After being a key part of the Ole Miss defense that stymied Indiana’s offense in the Outback Bowl, Anderson will join the Hoosier defense as a graduate transfer defensive lineman. Ole Miss held Indiana to 20 points, and Anderson totaled two tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry and one sack. Watch Sam Williams eat the LT's Lunch then force Tuttle up where Ryder Anderson finishes off the play with a sack. The SHARKS Are Loose#OutbackBowl @TheRebelWalk #OleMiss pic.twitter.com/EcfBe4v1mT — TJOxley1 (@TJOxley1) January 2, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js The transition for Anderson to new Indiana defensive coordinator Charlton Warren’s defense shouldn’t require much of an adjustment period. During Anderson’s freshman and sophomore seasons at Ole Miss, the Rebels ran a 4-2-5 defense, which has been a staple of Allen’s defensive system. Anderson said he has a lot of fun playing in a 4-2-5 defense and anticipates playing more defensive end at Indiana than he did last year. Because of his versatility on the defensive line, Anderson said he can also move inside depending on the scenario. The Hoosiers will be gaining some much-needed size on the defensive front after Jerome Johnson entered his name in the 2021 NFL Draft, and Anderson will bring just that. Standing at 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, Anderson’s size and speed can give opposing offensive linemen serious troubles. When Anderson spoke to the media on Thursday, he ironically mentioned Allen’s message about Indiana not finishing the 2020 season the way it wanted. While Anderson was part of the reason for Indiana’s collapse in the Outback Bowl, he is excited to be a part of Allen’s message. “Everything up to this point has been 'finish,'” Anderson said. “That will be the same line as we head into spring ball and do all the little things right.” While the recent trend at Indiana has been an upswing for the football program and the exact opposite for men’s basketball, another transfer still knows Indiana for its basketball. Former Florida State wide receiver DJ Matthews will join the Hoosiers for the 2021-2022 season, and said he started following players such as Michael Penix Jr. and Ty Fryfogle at the start of this year. Matthews recognizes the rapid growth of the football program, but was made aware of Indiana University for other reasons. "I called it (Victor) Oladipo's school," Matthews said. Matthews was a highly-touted recruit out of high school, and was ranked the No. 51 recruit in the country and the eighth-ranked wide receiver. Ideally, Matthews will fill the Whop Philyor role for the Hoosiers in the slot after Philyor’s decision to enter the 2021 NFL Draft. On Thursday, Matthews said he expects to play in the slot, but knows that could change based on matchups and offensive scheme during the season. However, Matthews is also excited to make his impact felt on special teams. In three years at Florida State, Matthews returned 56 kicks and punts for 582 yards and one touchdown. DJ Matthews tSO WR with the punt return for TD. #DevyWatch pic.twitter.com/IIzlWEXvCg — Greg Brandt (@devywarehouse) October 6, 2018 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js "I take all special teams seriously,” Matthews said. “I love special teams...That’s what got me on the field when I first got to college." Allen has continued to build strong connections with the state of Florida, and Matthews is just another example. Coming from Jacksonville, Matthews said he is close friends with Indiana defensive back Devon “Monster” Matthews. Being from Florida, DJ said it took him a few weeks to adjust to the winter weather of Bloomington, but Devon has helped him with the transition. DJ said Devon helped explain to him how the program was run and things to prepare for upon his arrival in Bloomington. Standing at 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, DJ Matthews brings a similar skillset to the Hoosiers that Philyor did for four seasons. Matthews figures to fit in the slot and use his speed to his advantage, but he is also excited to play with Fryfogle, who is returning for a fifth season. "I was excited when I saw Ty Fry post that he was coming back,” Matthews said. “It gave me a lot of confidence that we would have older guys to lead and take the next step.” While the idea of playing with one of the best receivers in the Big Ten was intriguing for Matthews, the head coach he will play for might have him even more excited. Matthews said Indiana was one of the first schools to reach out to him, and he has heard so many great things about Allen. “For coach Allen to reach out and get an opportunity to join a winning program, I couldn’t pass up that opportunity,” Matthews said. “...Playing for one of the greatest coaches in college football right now.” Matthews will be in his fifth year of college next season, and his goals are pretty simple. “I’m happy I got the opportunity to be around so many guys who are willing to work and pursue the dream and chase everything, chase greatness,” Matthews said. The final member of the trio of Power Five players transferring to Indiana for next season is offensive lineman Zach Carpenter. Carpenter played his first two seasons at Michigan where he saw action in just five games. He primarily appeared for the Wolverines on special teams, but made his collegiate debut on Oct. 24 at Minnesota playing center. Out of high school, Carpenter was rated as a three-star recruit and the 33rd-ranked offensive guard in the country. On Thursday, Carpenter told the media that he has always seen himself as a leader. Because of this, he is ready to compete for the starting job at center due to the departure of Harry Crider. Carpenter said he is comfortable playing both center and guard, but prefers center because it gives him a better chance to play at the next level. Indiana recruited Carpenter out of high school, and when he decided to transfer, he said it was not difficult to rekindle his relationship with Allen. “Throughout the season you saw Indiana football was big all over national coverage and really put them in my mind for where I want to go,” Carpenter said. “...Right off the bat nothing really changed.” Carpenter described last year’s Indiana football team as electric. He said the culture Allen has built at Indiana was a huge factor in his decision, and he remembers a specific play that depicted this. “[Indiana] is coming off the sideline and I remember coach Allen giving the kid a hug and he fell down,” Carpenter said. “Just stuff like that that I hadn’t experienced before.” Since his arrival in Bloomington, Carpenter said he has been hitting the weight room with Senior Assistant Athletic Director for Football Performance Aaron Wellman. Compared to his past experiences in the weight room, Carpenter said he enjoys Wellman’s approach because it is not just an emphasis on lifting heavy weights, but rather what is best for your body composition. “It is an individualized approach,” Carpenter said. “I think that’s great not only to perform the best on the field, but to get yourself ready to take the next step.” Though Carpenter hasn’t been in Bloomington for long, he said he has never felt uncomfortable in his transition to a new team. He said he can notice that the coaches truly care about the players and always want the best for them. “It’s been everything and more,” Carpenter said. “This place is special. The culture here is unreal.”
With a chance to tie or take the lead, Michigan went with what worked all night long. The ball was entered to Naz Hillmon in the post with 35 seconds remaining, but Mackenzie Holmes poked the ball loose to force a turnover. Grace Berger calmly knocked down a pair of free throws, and Indiana hung on to a 75-70 win. “The way [Holmes] stepped up on defense down the stretch was huge,” Aleksa Gulbe said. “...It came right when we needed it.” While Holmes finished with one of her weaker performances of the season, scoring just six points and grabbing six rebounds, she came up with the defensive play of the game when it mattered most. “When you struggle from the field, you can’t let that affect how you help us on the defensive end,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. With the victory, Indiana moves into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten and moves to 14-4 overall. Thursday was the lone matchup between Indiana and Michigan in the regular season, which means the Hoosiers own the tiebreaker over Michigan after dropping to 7-2 in conference play. Indiana’s 12-2 Big Ten record has been carried by strong play in the paint despite outside shooting struggles. The No. 14 Hoosiers entered Thursday's showdown led by Holmes’ 18 points per game, making up for the team's struggling 28 percent shooting from 3-point range. But the story on Thursday night was nearly the opposite. Michigan’s Hillmon frustrated the usually-efficient Holmes down low, and the Hoosiers put together one of their best games from beyond the arc. Though the Wolverines dominated the paint with a 32-14 scoring margin inside, the Hoosiers answered by tripling the amount of 3-point makes from the Maize and Blue — nine for IU and three for Michigan. Early on, it felt like Holmes and Gulbe would have their usual success in the paint, as Hillmon picked up two fouls within the game’s first three minutes. It seemed as if Indiana might have found the solution to stopping the potential Big Ten Player of the Year, but it wound up being only a temporary solution. Hillmon’s impact was immediately felt in the second quarter scoring 10 points and establishing her presence in the paint. Hillmon came close to her season average of 26.1 points per game, finishing with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. Holmes, on the other hand, entered the game shooting 58 percent from the field, but was not her usual, efficient self on Thursday. The sophomore forward shot just 2-for-8 from the field and finished with six points and six rebounds. However, Holmes’ teammates had her back, especially from the perimeter. “I think Michigan came into this game letting us beat them from the outside...and we hit them today,” Moren said. Indiana's recent mid-season opt-outs — four-year starter Jaelynn Penn and Notre Dame transfer Danielle Patterson — didn’t seem to deter the Hoosiers’ bench production, either. Chloe Moore-McNeil provided a big boost knocking down two 3-pointers in the second quarter, and Gulbe and Ali Patberg also combined for an efficient 6-for-9 from the perimeter. Patberg led the way with 21 points, and her leadership down the stretch helped Indiana close out its fifth win in a row. “Everyone on this team has an important role,” Patberg said. While it wasn’t a typical victory for Indiana, it is now the Hoosiers’ best win of the season. Entering this matchup, Indiana was 1-4 versus teams in the top 25, with its only win coming at Northwestern. Indiana received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA’s first reveal of the nation’s top 16 teams, and this win will go a long way toward improving the Hoosiers’ seed in the NCAA Tournament. Moving forward, Indiana has a road matchup in Madison, Wisconsin versus the 5-14 Badgers on Feb. 24. The Hoosiers have a great chance to extend their five-game win streak next Wednesday at Wisconsin. Physical matchups are expected night in and night out in the Big Ten, but Indiana showed that it welcomes this type of play that led to a crucial conference win. Moren said this game was not meant for the "meek and mild," but Indiana found a way to win. “[Michigan] is a physical team, but we had to be physical back,” Patberg said.