BLOOMINGTON — Teri Moren knew her team had to start strong on Thursday.
But she couldn’t have envisioned just how dominant her group came out.
No. 14 IU women’s basketball caught fire to open the game against Michigan, en route to an 80-59 victory at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers sunk their first 15 field-goal attempts — per Big Ten Network, this was the first time a Division I team has accomplished such a feat since 1999.
Both Mackenzie Holmes and Sara Scalia said they were unaware of that streak in the moment — they knew the team was hot, but didn’t realize the extent of the big start. Moren also didn’t know the team was perfect until she saw the stats during the first media timeout, and then again at the end of the first quarter.
“I really wasn’t paying much attention to that. I was just really enjoying the pace, how we were sharing the ball,” Moren said after the game. “It was really fun to watch Syd (Parrish) get going the way she got going. Mack on the inside. Just having the balance that we had. Nothing surprises me with this group as far as their ability to knock down shots.”
The Hoosiers finished the first quarter 13 for 13 from the field, and scored 36 points — their most in a single quarter since February 2022, when they put up 42 points in a furious fourth-quarter rally against Iowa on Ali Patberg’s senior day. IU didn’t miss a field-goal attempt until Scalia misfired on a 3-pointer over two minutes into the second quarter.
Indiana nearly played a perfect first quarter offensively on Thursday. The team didn’t even have an empty possession until there were seven seconds left in the first quarter, when Holmes committed an offensive foul. That was IU’s first turnover of the game. The Hoosiers scored points every other time they controlled the ball in the first quarter. Their only other blemish was two missed free throws.
“It was just fun, especially we got Syd going there for a sec, and then I started to hit some shots,” Scalia said. “So it’s definitely, it’s fun when we’re hitting our shots, especially our threes.”
Scalia and Parrish both scored in double figures in that opening quarter. Parrish scored 14 points in the game, and they all came in those first 10 minutes. The senior had 11 points less than four minutes into the game, boosted by made threes on three straight possessions. Scalia did the same thing later in the quarter, and finished the period with 11 points.
The Hoosiers just carved up a stout Michigan defense. They passed the ball with poise, with 10 assists on their 13 field goals in the first quarter. And their quickness caused problems right away. UM tied the game on its first offensive possession, but didn’t get everyone back on defense, and the Hoosiers capitalized and got Scalia to the rim (and then the foul line) with ease.
That was a sign of things to come. Michigan’s defense entered the game allowing just 55.2 points per game, which ranked 38th in the country and first in the Big Ten. But Indiana’s torrent start had just as much to do with UM defensive lapses as it did with the Hoosiers’ outstanding offensive play.
The Wolverines were all over the place defensively in that first quarter. They routinely abandoned Scalia and Parrish at the 3-point line, and both players went 3 for 3 from beyond the arc in the quarter. Scalia ranked 22nd in the country and second in the Big Ten with a 3-point clip at 46.05 percent going into this game, and has been among the league’s biggest 3-point threats for years. Parrish hasn’t quite found a rhythm from downtown this season — Thursday was her best 3-point shooting performance so far. But she shot 36.7 percent last season and is more than capable of knocking down open shots.
Parrish and Scalia can’t possibly have snuck up on Michigan. Scalia, particularly, had to be one of the top priorities in the scouting report. But the Wolverines just did not execute 3-point defense until it was too late.
“I think they were just taking risks and leaving some people open. I don’t know why you would ever leave Sara Scalia open on the perimeter, but they did, and she made them pay. Same with Sydney Parrish,” Holmes said. “I think they took a chance. Didn’t necessarily close out very hard, and then we knocked them down, especially early on in the game.”
The Wolverines, in fairness, faced a conundrum that any IU opponent could encounter when this team gets rolling offensively. When they focused on stopping Holmes inside, they left the shooters too much space. When they adjusted to try and guard the shooters more effectively, they abandoned the All-American in the paint.
The first quarter showed the Hoosiers at their most dangerous. They’re capable of beating opponents in so many different ways. And when they have all of those facets clicking at the same time, it can be deadly.
It’s unlikely IU will shoot 100 percent in a quarter for the rest of the season. But the way it got there — the effective balance between inside and outside shooting, with scorers locked in on both levels — can be replicable.
And that could be this team’s formula for another huge Big Ten season.