#12 Indiana Women’s Basketball prepares for matchup with Bowling Green

After a 79-67 win over No. 11 University of Tennessee on Monday in Knoxville, No. 12 Indiana women’s basketball will continue its non-conference schedule against Bowling Green State University on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Bloomington.

Despite the big win last season, head coach Teri Moren said the Hoosiers are focused on the future instead of focusing on what they’ve already accomplished.

“There is a 24-hour rule in our program: whether we win or fall short, you have 24 hours to either be happy or to feel bad, and the next day we show up and do it again get to work.” Moren said. “Our whole interest now is putting together a game plan for our players to succeed against Bowling Green.”

[Related: No. 12 Indiana women’s basketball pulls off early season upset of No. 11 Tennessee in Knoxville]

Indiana and Bowling Green both go into the matchup unbeaten – 3-0 and 2-0, respectively. Last year, Bowling Green went 17-16 and was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament, but qualified for the Women’s Basketball Invitational. The Falcons made one run in the eight-team postseason tournament and finished third.

Each of Bowling Green’s top five point scorers from last year returned for the 2022-23 season and the team will also benefit from the return of junior guard Lexi Fleming. Fleming missed all of last season through injury after leading the team as top scorer and being named MAC Rookie of the Year in 2020-21.

Although Fleming didn’t start in the Falcon’s first two games as she continues to work her way back to full strength, she has the potential to fill the stats. Control of Fleming and senior forward Kadie Hempfling — Bowling Green’s two preseason All-MAC Second Team honorees — will be critical to Indiana’s success Thursday.

Another important area for the Hoosiers against the Falcons will be 3-point shooting. In their season opener, the Hoosiers made 12 shots from deep — more than any game last season — but only 13 combined in the next two competitions. Though Indiana shot just 8-29 from 3-point range on Monday, the threat of talented shooters behind the arc forced Tennessee’s defense to stretch, giving more room for elder forward Mackenzie Holmes to get inside work.

“They surrounded Holmes with more 3-pointers,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper said after Monday’s game. “It makes it harder to guard them. There were times when I wanted to try and help out at the post but there wasn’t anyone I could help so I think that will be a big plus for them as they progress.

However, the Hoosiers need to improve their shooting — just 25% in the last two games — if they want the defense to continue to respect the danger they pose from deep.

Indiana is traditionally 4-2 against Bowling Green, but the teams haven’t faced each other since the 2008-09 season when Indiana won the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament 75-67 in Bowling Green, Ohio. Thursday’s game is the only matchup on Bowling Green’s schedule against a Power Five conference team — let alone a ranked team.

“As I always tell our players, when you’re up against teams like the Vermonts and Bowling Greens, we’re probably their biggest opponent on their schedule,” Moren said. “There’s an extra energy, a focus that people come here and play with.”

The Hoosiers and Falcons tilt at 7 p.m. at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and stream on BTN+.

Follow reporter Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Sebree (@mattsebree) and columnist Matt Press (@MattPress23) for updates during the Indiana women’s basketball season.

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