Connect with us


‘We are much healthier’: Indiana women’s basketball opens up NCAA Tournament play with full roster following long break



Indiana Women's Basketball
The Indiana women's basketball program is getting healthy at the right time as it enters NCAA Tournament play. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Indiana women’s basketball begins its NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon and, as most teams are this year, it is dealing with some injuries.

But, the best news for Indiana is that is is getting healthier and healthier and is back to full strength.

“Yeah, I can sit here and tell you we are much healthier,” Indiana women’s basketball head coach Teri Moren said on Friday. “Mack (Mackenzie Holmes) has been really good all week. Has been constant in practice, as well as Syd (Parrish). Lilly (Meister) feels good on that ankle as well. This break, as I knew it would be, has been really good for this group. I do feel like we’re going to enter tomorrow’s (Saturday) game with our normal five starters and kids that are much healthier.”

Injuries in postseason play have been an issue for this roster for much of the last few years, especially to its star All-American forward, Mackenzie Holmes. And despite a healthy season leading into the final game of the year, a re-aggravated knee injury was a cause for concern.

Leading into the Big Ten Tournament it was still to be determined if and how much Holmes would play. With 6:28 left in the fourth quarter of its game against Michigan in their tournament-opener, Holmes saw the floor for the first time. A 14-point halftime lead and 17-point lead midway through the third quarter had turned into a four-point deficit. Indiana would go on to lose — but it was a blessing in disguise heading into today.

So, this time around will she manage any of Holmes’ minutes?

That time off not only helped Holmes, but also Sydney Parrish, who suffered an ankle injury in the Big Ten Tournament, as well as Lilly Meister who had been nursing an ankle injury from the season-finale as well.

“Believe it or not, Syd really got the most rest out of all of them,” Moren said. “Mack was feeling better even in the Big Ten Tournament and coming out of that, it just gave her more time. Lilly needed — once we got back, that ankle was swollen up again. So, she needed extra time. Between [Lilly and Syd] they probably required the most time off when we returned.”

Indiana did everything it could to get to a place where it feels confident about its roster and depth heading into the win or go home mindset.

Now, we’ll see if it pays off.

“I really shortened up practice. It was intense, but it was short,” Moren said. “Every time we went live (scrimmaging) and we got up-and-down, I held my breath because I certainly didn’t want anything strange to happen. But I also knew that we couldn’t take this two weeks off without trying to be competitive, trying to go live, and getting them those real, live reps.

“So we managed to get through the last two weeks with, knock on wood, everybody staying healthy.”

Indiana women’s basketball faces Fairfield at 1:30 pm ET on ESPN2.

SEE ALSO: Indiana Women’s Basketball — 5 things to know about Fairfield ahead of first round matchup

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated, part of the Full Ride Network, on Twitter @Indiana_FRN, Facebook and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. You can also listen to the Talking’ Bout the Hoosiers podcast on Spotify.

Looking for a place to get more Indiana content? Hoosier Illustrated has partnered with Tom Brady’s company ‘Autograph’ to streamline our coverage, so you can continue to do what you do best – follow IU sports. Use the CODE: Indianafr to get started today. For more info, you can start here.

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.