Three things: Indiana women’s basketball beats Maryland 68-61

The No. 6 women’s basketball team from Indiana scored its third win over a top ten team this season last night, defeating No. 9 Maryland in the Assembly Hall. The win was significant for several reasons, no greater than the fact that it helped the Hoosiers maintain second place in the Big Ten standings. Here are three things from a very competitive and very physical game:

Sydney Parish

Sydney Parrish, Indiana won this game. The Oregon transfer and early-season sixth pick earned a permanent starting role by hitting three-pointers and making Juice plays, and she did just that last night.

Parrish recorded a team-high 18 points on 7-13 shooting and was 3-7 from beyond the arc. She has cemented herself as one of Indiana’s deadliest options from deep by shooting 35% of the year, which is second best on the team. The defense is starting to catch on and has been picking them up further out in the last couple of games, but that wasn’t as important against Maryland. Two of their threes were from the parking lot, Parrish has a serious reach.

#33 also recorded four rebounds and four steals while physically imposing herself on the Maryland guards. Despite getting knocked over at one point, Parrish continued to crash defensively whenever IU needed her and committed several “good” fouls to prevent easy Terrapin points. She actually ended up with a foul with ten seconds left and left the court to thunderous applause from all the Hoosier faithful in attendance. It’s very cool to cover a basketball team whose fans know ball.

Oh, Parrish had a big block that also effectively iced the game:

We still don’t know where the ball went.

Big 4th quarter

Indiana led 48-42 into the final frame, but they had some trouble putting Maryland out of the way for good. The Hoosiers shot just 12-21 on free throws and made 19 turnovers, giving the Terrapins ample opportunity to make a game out of it, which they did.

Maryland’s star guard, Diamond Miller, capped an 8-2 terps run with a big layup that tied things at 50 with 6:12 points remaining. Although the momentum began to shift, Indiana didn’t back down.

A three from Yarden Garzon and a layup from Parrish put in a block from Chloe Moore-McNeil to put IU in five by 5:22. Maryland missed a three on the next possession and gave way to Grace Berger to take a classic Grace Berger shot:

Hoosiers to seven. Time out Maryland.

Both teams played with equal possession for the next few minutes until Berger regained possession with 1:45 left. However, this time she passed:

Dagger. Imagine leaving Yarden Garzon, the Big Ten’s second-best three-point shooter, wide open while the game is on the line. . . couldn’t be me!

My biggest takeaway from Indiana’s fourth quarter is how composed they have been throughout. The moment never grew too big, and a newcomer to Garzon cemented itself as a solid crunch-time option. In her post-game press conference, head coach Teri Moren mentioned that she was and should be proud of the team’s toughness and resilience.

Now it feels like a good time to cite Indiana’s overall defense efforts as well. They recorded a dozen steals as a team and were very active on the ball. Chloe Moore-McNeil did a particularly good job neutralizing Diamond Miller.

The nature of the Big Ten game

It’s hard to win in the Big Ten. Everyone is good, the basketball is physical and the official is um. . . polarizing. Indiana had to overcome a lot to pull out a win last night and they did it. That’s a big deal and it’s all happened before a lot from people. The assembly hall rocked throughout the game and the press room was the busiest I’ve seen. This should be the standard for all things off the pitch.

The pitch showed last night just how dangerous this full-strength team is. Last night was only the second game of the season that all 13 players on Indiana’s roster were healthy and dressed. Only eight of them actually played, but the increased availability allowed Teri Moren to be more flexible on the track.

Grace Berger and Sydney Parrish each had committed four fouls by the end of the fourth quarter. However, rather than playing fearfully or sitting to avoid fouling, both players continued to play All Systems Go basketball because Moren knew she had a handful of guards to replace her with if necessary.

Indiana is at its best when they play bold, and they are at their best when they are healthy. They will be one of the favorites in the conference tournament and beyond if they can maintain their full strength.