No. 5 IU women’s basketball blows out Minnesota. But Teri Moren isn’t satisfied.
Indiana coach Teri Moren said what Wednesday’s 77-54 final score did not:
“We didn’t play well,” Moren said. “In our opinion.”
The fifth-ranked Hoosiers went on the road to face a Minnesota squad that had only won two games in the Big Ten this season. It was a thorough beatdown, so much so that IU never trailed. A few Minnesota surges in the second half closed the gap, but not so much as to truly be in striking distance.
The final score shows a game that was dominated by the Hoosiers. And it was.
Yet Moren was not satisfied with her team’s showing. And for good reason. IU committed 17 turnovers. The Hoosiers’ guard play outside of Sydney Parrish was relatively underwhelming.
More:Nights like this are special, but not surprising. IU women's basketball is a powerhouse.
That Indiana can go on the road and not play to its standards, yet still win by 23 points is a testament to just how good this team is. The Hoosiers are now 21-1 overall, 11-1 in the Big Ten. They have endured time with Grace Berger injured. They’ve beaten some of the best teams in the country. Time and time again, they’ve proved they're legit.
But to achieve what IU wants to achieve requires great. That’s why it’s important — even in a blowout win — for IU to keep nitpicking and critiquing and growing. Moren wants more. And great requires more.
“We’re obviously glad we’re getting out of Minnesota with a win,” Moren said, “but we know that as we move forward, ball security, less turnovers, being able to make shots, being able to be more just cleaner from an execution standpoint is gonna be important.”
There were still lots of things to like from Wednesday.
Minnesota turned the ball over 29 times. It shot just 33.9% from the field and 23.1% from deep. On the other hand, Indiana was solid offensively, shooting 50.8% from the field, 36.4% from deep and 78.6% from the free-throw line.
An important part of that was Parrish and Mackenzie Holmes. Parrish scored 23 points, including 3-of-4 from deep. Holmes had 28 points and only missed two shots from the field the entire game. She has cemented herself as one of the best players in the nation, using her footwork and craftiness to cause problems for defenses.
“She’s very confident,” Moren said of Holmes. “She’s confident in herself. She’s confident in her teammates. She works at her game every day before practice. She’s healthy, she’s a year smarter than she was a year ago in terms of the game and managing her game and what she has inside every game from a scoring perspective.”
But there was still much left to be desired. Chloe Moore-McNeil, Yarden Garzon and Berger combined for just 12 points. Berger was 2-of-10 from the field and committed three turnovers. She did, however, still find a way to impact the game in a flawed performance with nine assists and five rebounds.
Berger wasn’t the only one unable to keep control of the ball — Parrish and Moore-McNeil each had three turnovers, as well. “Seventeen turnovers is just way too many for this basketball team that really prides itself on taking care of the basketball,” Moren said. IU scored 30 points off Minnesota turnovers, but Moren also pointed to the Hoosiers only had 10 fast break points.
“When you force turnovers like that, the goal is to get some easy runouts, which result in layups,” Moren said. “And we didn’t score near the amount of points that I wanted to in early offense, in transition. And so that was a little bit frustrating.”
By no means does Wednesday raise serious red flags. Despite the various struggles, IU won and did so decisively. But part of sustaining itself as a powerhouse requires near perfection. It’s a testament to what Moren has built at IU. 20-plus point blowout wins are subject to criticism should they be warranted. That comes with the territory of being an elite program.
“That’s the thing about having a veteran team, an experienced team — they know,” Moren said. “They’re not — by any stretch of the means — down there in that locker room right now high-fiving. They don’t think they played well.”
The gauntlet ahead is good reason for IU to work on its shortcomings from Wednesday. The Hoosiers still have to play Iowa twice, Purdue twice, Ohio State and Michigan. What IU got away with on Wednesday might not slide against those opponents, nor in the teeth of postseason play.
That stretch starts with a matchup at Purdue on Sunday.
“As I said to them,” Moren said, referring to IU’s turnovers on Wednesday, “we got to fix that before Sunday.”
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IU women’s basketball blows out Minnesota. Teri Moren isn’t satisfied.