With Holmes and Scalia returning, IU women’s basketball is reloaded for 2023-24

Indiana women’s basketball is in the middle of a historic season.

The Hoosiers just set a program record with their 25th win of the season. They are surging towards a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. And they could clinch at least a share of their first Big Ten title in 40 years with a win over Purdue on Sunday.

But as senior day approaches and IU prepares to recognize Grace Berger and Alyssa Geary, it’s easy to think ahead about the future. And that future is quite bright.

Following IU’s win over Michigan, The Daily Hoosier confirmed through a program spokesperson that seniors Mackenzie Holmes and Sara Scalia have informed IU staff that they will return in 2023-24 with their extra year of eligibility from the COVID-19 pandemic.

That means the Hoosiers will bring back five of their core six rotation players next season, with Holmes, Scalia, Chloe Moore-McNeil, Sydney Parrish, and Yarden Garzon. They have 13 players under scholarship for next season, so two spots remain open if they choose to use them.

Holmes has taken her game to another level this season, putting herself in the conversations for Big Ten and national player of the year. She’s sixth in the nation at 22.7 points per game, and second in the country with a 68.56 field goal percentage. She’s also averaging 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Holmes has climbed to seventh on the program’s all-time scoring list this season at 1,795 points through the Michigan game. She’d move into seventh with 33 points, and she’s 42 points away from taking sixth place. At her current pace, she has a realistic shot of passing Tyra Buss next season to become the top scorer in IU history.

She moved into second in program history in career blocks with five against Michigan, but it could be tough to reach that top spot. She’s currently at 198, and Quacy Barnes’ school record is 269. Holmes recorded 81 blocks as a sophomore, so it’s not impossible, but she’d need an output closer to that than her junior and senior years.

Holmes is also in good shape to set an IU record for career field goal percentage, currently at 63.4 percent.

Scalia has had an up-and-down season, but at her best, is a deadly outside shooter. She’s averaging 9.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. She’s shooting 34.1 percent from 3-point range, which is fourth on the team behind Garzon, Parrish, and Berger, though Berger is a low-volume 3-point shooter.

Indiana brought back just two starters this season from last year, in Berger and Holmes. And IU’s blend of returners and experienced newcomers has translated into remarkable success this year.

And with Holmes and Scalia back in the fold next year, IU will have continuity with this high-achieving group.

The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”