IU women adapting with season on the horizon

“Be light on our feet, be nimble, be flexible and grow.”

If there was a theme to Virtual Media Day for the Indiana women’s basketball team on Thursday, those words from coach Teri Moren were it.

In the seven months since the NCAA Tournament was canceled, the Hoosiers have found themselves on an unexpected learning curve of all shapes and sizes.

There was Big Ten All-Freshman team member Mackenzie Holmes, practicing through the snow in Maine.

Aleksa Gulbe found herself hopping a plane back to Latvia on March 13 and not returning to Bloomington until two weeks ago.

Notre Dame transfer Danielle Patterson was finally cleared in late August to resume full-go after last year’s surgery, while Jaelynn Penn underwent offseason surgery for her plantar fasciitis and won’t be full-go for some time yet.

Freshman Chloe Moore-McNeil has battled mono and the removal of her wisdom teeth.

And, oh by the way, IU does not have a schedule for the 2020-21 season yet.

A final call will be held on Friday in hopes of finalizing what appears likely to be a 20-game Big Ten schedule, leaving open five non-conference slots, one of which could be filled by the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, although a decision on the fate of that series remains up in the air.

Yet, there will be a season, whatever way, shape and form it takes. The significance of that is not lost on Indiana, a team that is ranked No. 17 in the ESPNw preseason poll and will likely fill similar slots when the Associated Press and Coaches’ polls are released.

“One of the things with the pandemic is we’re not taking any of this for granted,” Moren said via Zoom. “Our kids took it for granted that they could get in the gym any time they wanted. Then I’ve got Mackenzie Holmes sending me pictures from Maine of snow coming down on her court outside.

“We’re not going to take any of this for granted. We’re looking forward to having a season. We didn’t know if that was going to happen or if this year was going to have any sort of normalcy about it. The fact is we’re moving in a direction where, hopefully Friday, we’ll figure out our schedule and everything is in front of us.”

What’s in front could be postponements, delays, scheduling and rescheduling.

Moren says her staff and team is “working on the 15-minute rule, which his everything can change in 15 minutes.”

If and when it does, having a team full of veterans, led by sixth-year senior Ali Patberg, to deal with it.

“(Coach) tells us in a normal season there are going to be a lot of ups and downs and it’s about how we handle adversity and how we bounce back,” the former Columbus North star and Indiana Miss Basketball said. “We’ll honestly take it one day a time. That’ what we’ve been doing, dominating the day we have in front of us, waking up and knowing we get the opportunity to work out today, to be with one another.

“We’re controlling what we can control and we’ll take on whatever the season has for us and make it one of the best. A lot of us have learned during all of this, we have no control right now, but we can control our effort and what we give every day, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

That cohesiveness has served and stands to serve the Hoosiers well in the coming days, weeks and months. Their hunger to prove themselves as a team after the disappointment of last season’s abrupt end has made it easier to handle all of the rules and regulations now being enforced as part of IU and the Big Ten’s health protocols with practice officially beginning on Wednesday.

“One goal of ours was to have our own little bubble, a women’s basketball bubble,” junior Grace Berger said. “We’re all so close and are such great friends that that’s been really easy to do. We hang out, try to stay only with each other. We go over to each other’s houses and keep it to that small group right now. It hasn’t been too hard, because we all have so much fun together and all get along and have great chemistry.”

12 comments

  1. T. Moren including her staff/s and has created aLady basketball family at IU. Have to like the IU Lady sisterhood for those who stayed and preserved in the program. IU basketball Lady program seems to be on competitive stability or stable foundation.

  2. Thanks for the update Jeremy.
    I wonder if fans will be allowed at IU women’s games?
    One thing is certain.
    The team chemistry of the IU Women’s basketball program is absolutely amazing.
    GO HOOSIERS!

  3. NatHill, I also am wondering about fans being allowed at games. I have been a season ticket holder for over 25 years and would be very disappointed if fans were not allowed for the games? This should be a GREAT year for IU women’s basketball, possibly the best year ever! Go Hoosiers!!

  4. This should be a great season for IU women BBall, will also by a trying one. If fans are allowed it will be greatly limited , social distance and masks. As you know high school football games are limited to maybe 500 or less.

    Maybe someone can clue me in,, I was of the opinion that Kiandra Browne was going to redshirt mainly because of the covid concerns then I saw where she was going to reclassify to the 2020 to be with the team this season. I believe it was stated that espn listed her as a 4 star recruit , sounds as if she could help the team. I also noted that on the listed roster it does not show her as a redshirt.

  5. I personally don’t understand a possible limit to the attendance at women’s games when you consider Assembly Hall seats over 17, 000 fans and women’s games only average around 2 or 3 thousand fans to begin with? Makes no sense? You can without a doubt socially distance 3, 000 fans in the Hall easy. Just saying…… Not being able to watch this year’s possibly great team play in the Hall will be a true shame! Go Hoosiers!!

  6. They may not be counting the Very upper levels of Assembly Hall since it’s not used for lady games. So that might make it like a 12,000 seat arena. Also if they don’t have any fans except maybe families of players etc may want to eliminate as much as they can any negative possibilities regarding virus. However, two or three thousand fans with preference given to season ticket or multiple games ticket holders including families of players and those connected program might be appropriate.

  7. MikeC and t;
    Do you really think the BigTen is going to allow fans inside a closed basketball arena when they aren’t allowing fans in an gigantic outdoor football stadium?
    I’d say the odds are slim and none.
    I personally think it makes a LOT more sense to allow fans at a football stadium.
    The BigTen is the only conference in the United States that won’t allow football fans, right?

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