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Indiana women’s basketball ready for top-15 heavy-weight showdown with Stanford



Indiana women's basketball coach Teri Moren
No.9 Indiana women's basketball heads out west to take on No. 15 Stanford in a heavy-weight battle on Sunday afternoon. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The Indiana women’s basketball program has its sights set on a Final Four and competing for a National Championship this season. With those expectations, you need to be tested early and often throughout the season. The Big Ten provides those tests against ranked opponents almost every night.

But on Sunday, Indiana will head out of conference and head out west to compete against one of the most storied programs in women’s college basketball history; Stanford.

The Cardinal have three National Championships to their name, including one in 2021. They’ve also advanced to 14 straight Sweet Sixteens. They’ve also advanced to the Final Four in two out of the last three years.

A main reason for that is the leadership of Tara VanDerveer — Indiana women’s basketball alum. VanDerveer is already the winningest coach in women’s college basketball history with 1,187 wins, but she is only 16 wins away from breaking Mike Krzyzewski’s record (1,202) to become the winningest coach in college basketball history —  men’s or women’s.

But the Cardinal don’t stop there. They returned 58.5 percent of its minutes played, 58.7 percent of its points, 44.3 percent of its rebounds and 54.5 percent of its assists from the 2022-23 season — a team that made it to the Final Four.

That core is led by Cameron Brink — the All-American senior forward who has asserted herself as one of the top players in the country over the past few seasons. Her highlight performance came against the Indiana women’s basketball program just two years ago — the last time the two programs met. It was a performance for the ages. She had 21 points, 22 rebounds, five assists and five blocks. It pushed Stanford to a 69-66 win over No. 4 Indiana.

It was the only 20-point, 20-rebound, 5-assist, 5-block game against a ranked opponent in the NCAA since 1999-00.

“I think for us, it’s not going to really be about Cameron Brink and the Mackenzie Holmes matchup, it’s going to be about the matchups of the other four there on the floor,” Indiana women’s basketball coach Teri Moren said after IU’s season-opening win over Eastern Illinois. “I think we did this a year ago when we went into Tennessee — you’ve gotta make sure you go in with a tremendous amount of confidence, and that’s how we played down there. So, I think our kids are looking at it as a great challenge, and I think their experience will help us once we get over there.”

Those other matchups are highlighted by Hannah Jump and Sara Scalia — both terrific shooters. Jump hit 100 3s a season ago en route to averaging 11.2 points per game. 76.4 percent of her shot attempts a season ago (237) came from three. She shot 44.1 percent from distance.

Scalia comes in taking over a secondary scoring role behind Holmes for Indiana. She had 13 points in the season-opener and was 3-of-5 on 3s.

Junior forward Kiki Iriafen for the Cardinal had a team-high 24 points in the opener after averaging 6.7 points per game as a key rotational player last season. She will likely be matched up with Indiana’s Yarden Garzon. Garzon has emerged as a potential star for the Hoosiers and this could be a real breakout game after a terrific and consistent freshman season.

Regardless of the matchups, however, Moren has made sure to emphasize they won’t change for anyone. Indiana will continue to do what it does best and force others to change who they are if they want to come out with a win.

“You don’t change who we are. We’ve got to really try to get out in transition, we’ve got to take advantage of being able to shoot the ball outside the arc and hope that you’re having a good shooting night,” Moren said. “We still, obviously, have a tremendous amount of confidence in Mackenzie because she is still going to continue to draw a lot of coverage.”

Besides, it’s been a strategy that has worked for Moren and Indiana as the ninth-year head coach got her 400th career win (201 in her IU career).

“It’s great — the milestone. Hopefully there’s more in the future … Glad I could do it,” Moren said. “I appreciate our team got me to the finish line tonight so now we can look forward to playing a really good Stanford team.”

No. 9 Indiana and No. 15 Stanford face off at 5 pm ET on ESPN on Sunday.

SEE ALSO: ‘I don’t think we’re over it’: Indiana women’s basketball using NCAA Tournament loss as fuel for strong 2023-24 season

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.