Indiana Women's Basketball: Could their Early Big Ten Tournament Exit be a blessing in disguise?

Head coach Teri Moren knows that Mackenzie Holmes' health is paramount for Indiana to make a run deep in the NCAA Tournament. Rest would also help Sydney Parrish and Lily Meister get healthier.
Iowa v Indiana
Iowa v Indiana / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

There is always an element of luck involved in making a deep run during March Madness. Tournament "luck" is usually good health. For Indiana Women's Basketball, luck hasn't been on their side this time of year. That was evident by their early exit from the Big Ten Women's Tournament. It did not start that way, however.

The Hoosiers took a 14-point lead into the locker room, but their shooters went ice cold, and Michigan guard Laila Phelia had a career night en route to a 13-point loss. Mackenzie Holmes did not play at all in the first half. When the Wolverines caught fire and head coach Teri Moren decided the All-American needed to play, Holmes was noticeably limping while she ran.

Guard Sydney Parrish looked to tweak the foot that had cost her over a month of the season. Aside from a blocked shot early in the game, forward Lily Meister was also largely ineffective.

Could a First-Round Exit be a Good Thing?

While their early exit from the Big Ten Tournament certainly cost them a higher seed, head coach Teri Moren, her staff, and every player from last season's team know how important health is to make a run in the tournament. Their second-round exit from the game last year (a home loss, by the way) was due in large part to Holmes' not being 100%.

This season, they have three players who are less than their best. Holmes has a history of issues with that knee. She had surgery in 2022 and re-injured it in 2023. Meister's ankle sprain limits her mobility in the paint, especially on defense. Parrish's foot isn't 100% and it shows.

Selection Sunday is five days away with the first round starts, and March 22nd. Holmes, Meister, and Parrish won't be 100% by then, but that gives the training staff ten to 11 days to treat and rehab those injuries to get them as healthy as possible, which could be the difference between a deep run and an early exit.

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