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Indiana women's basketball blows out Lipscomb, but Sydney Parrish tweaks hamstring

Indianapolis Star

BLOOMINGTON — finished its weekend homestand undefeated, taking down Lipscomb, 77-44.

The Hoosiers are now 4-1 after winning against Murray State on Friday. IU will travel to Florida this week to take on No. 15 Tennessee and Princeton in the Fort Myers Tip-Off.

Here are three observations from the game:

Sydney Parrish tweaks hamstring again
Indiana's Sydney Parrish (33) drives during the first half of the Indiana versus Lipscomb women's basketball game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.

There was cause for concern on the injury front this weekend, as senior guard Sydney Parrish left Friday’s game against Murray State in the first quarter after tweaking her hamstring, sitting out of the rest of the Hoosiers’ 112-79 win. 

At the time, coach Teri Moren wasn’t worried about Parrish, saying she could’ve continued playing if the Hoosiers needed her. But, hamstring injuries can linger, so Moren pulled Parrish as a caution.

Parrish started as usual Sunday, playing with her left thigh wrapped up. The injury didn’t alter her play until the beginning of the fourth quarter, when she fell after attempting a layup and immediately grabbed her thigh, limping. 

Freshman Julianna LaMendola almost immediately checked in for her, and Parrish’s day was done after that — she briefly left the sideline to get ice for her hamstring before returning. Parrish played 21 minutes, scoring seven points on 2-of-8 shooting and grabbing six rebounds.

"Might've been the miss that hurt her," Moren joked. "But I think she'll be fine. We have a couple of days here, tomorrow is a day off... Syd is a kid that will gut anything out, unless she just can't go. I have a feeling that tomorrow, a good day off, will probably do her some good."

Defense steps up

Moren has been concerned with the Hoosiers’ defense ever since their exhibition against Northwood in October. 

Those worries expounded as IU allowed 96 points to Stanford in its first loss of the season last week. IU then allowed 79 points to Murray State on Friday, blowing past Moren’s goal of 60. The Hoosiers were soft, allowing opponents to drive freely to the basket for easy layups.

On Sunday, IU found the “smash-mouth” defense that Moren was looking for. 

"We knew that our defense needed to be better," senior Mackenzie Holmes said. "We gave up 12 points in that first quarter , and we just really want to be a team that is stingy on defense. We want to get back to that. We weren't perfect today, but we definitely had some moments of improvement."

The Hoosiers held the Bison to 44 points, including just six points in the second quarter. IU patched up the holes in the lanes, for the most part, as the Bison shot 31% from the field.

Moren said her goal for the Hoosiers was to keep the Bison under 60 points, which they cleared by 14. Even with that out of the way, though, Moren thought Lipscomb had too many 3-pointers -- her goal was keeping the Bison to five, but the Hoosiers allowed six.

"Our goal was to not give up the threes, and Syd gave up the first three, and then we start feeling good, you know, we give up a second one," Moren said. "When the scouting report is stay attached, you can't wander off with your body or your eyes, you got to know where the lead shooters are, and your kids still do that, it's frustrating."

Sophomore Lexus Bargesser elevated the Hoosiers’ defense off the bench, staying close to her assignment and forcing difficult shots from the Bison. In the second quarter alone, Bargesser stole the ball from midcourt and blocked a shot.

"I thought we had some really good moments," Moren said of the defense. "I do want to point out I thought Lexus Bargesser was terrific tonight on the defensive side of the ball. She was really locked in."

Sara Scalia fiery beyond the arc
Indiana's Sara Scalia (14) shoots a three-pointer during the second half of the Indiana versus Lipscomb women's basketball game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.

Scalia, a new addition to the starting lineup this season, was always formidable from 3-point range. On Sunday, she was nearly unstoppable.

"My teammates just found me when I was open," Scalia said. "I had my first couple, which just built my confidence as the game went on. I think that was just a big thing."

Scalia went 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and 8-of-14 from the field, finishing the game with 24 points. The Minnesota transfer had over half of IU’s makes from beyond the arc, as the Hoosiers went 9-of-19.

"The only place confidence comes from is your work, so I'm so glad to see those go in tonight for her, because she's so critical to us offensively," Moren said. "She's been relentless in her work habits, and now I think she looks more comfortable."

Scalia also had six rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes, picking up some of the slack left by Chloe Moore-McNeil, who only played 20 minutes because of foul trouble.