A hangover? One could say that’s how the Indiana women’s basketball season has started following a Big Ten Championship last year. After a top-10 ranking to start the season, Indiana has dropped almost 20 spots in the rankings and had one ‘old-fashioned butt-kicking’ last week.
Indiana’s lone loss this season is not one to hide — it was against a top-15 opponent in Stanford on its own home floor. But, it’s the way in which it happened that had Indiana opening its eyes.
The Hoosiers — who have Final Four aspirations this season — lost to the Cardinal by 32 points and were never in the game.
“Really, it was just a good old-fashioned butt-kicking,” Moren said following the game. “I thought Stanford was terrific. We had some good moments, but certainly, we need a lot of really good moments to beat a team like that … it was a great early matchup for us, great test. There’s certainly a lot of things we’ve got to get better at and improve, and this game proves that and showed that to us.”
It was the first of a few notable non-conference matchups for Indiana. Just 10 days removed from that loss, Indiana has another major opportunity to rebound from that loss.
On Thursday, Indiana faces No. 19 Tennessee in the Fort Myers Tip-Off.
The Vols come in with just one loss as well — and a ranked opponent in Florida State. It was just a one-point loss, however.
The major point of emphasis for Indiana women’s basketball head coach Teri Moren? Defense. The Vols come in averaging 92 points per game and shooting 46.5 percent from the floor.
Indiana is giving up 65.5 points per game.
The Hoosiers struggled mightily against Stanford but have been getting better in the past two matchups. Still, it’s not good enough for Moren.
“A little bit better tonight defensively, from our group … It will be all of us,” Moren said after IU’s win over Lipscomb. “We will have to pack a lot of defense for that trip.”
Tennessee comes in with six players averaging double-digits and has scored 20 points or more in 12 of the 16 quarters this season.
The Vols rank top-10 in scoring.
Indiana has 13 ranked wins over the past two seasons. So, despite last weekend’s loss to Stanford, the track record of winning these games is on the Hoosiers’ side.
“I think (the Stanford game) opened up the eyes of the younger players on our team, our freshmen and transfers, and even some of our sophomores who haven’t played in big games like this before, just realizing that any team that comes to play us is going to give it their all,” IU senior guard Sydney Parrish said. “I think we just have to stick together through this. It’s a really tough loss … just learn from the film this week, and get back, and adjust our defensive game plans, and just get better from it.”
“It’s a lesson learned. It’s a long game. You have to make the next right step,” Moren added. “And it took us a while to make the next right step.”
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