Julianna LaMendola is IUWBB's New Glue Girl

Julianna LaMendola and Teri Moren, Indiana Women's Basketball
Julianna LaMendola and Teri Moren, Indiana Women's Basketball / Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY

Similar to her fellow phenomenal classmate Lenee Beaumont, Julianna "Jules" LaMendola came to Bloomington a year ago with a proven track record of excellence throughout her high school playing days. Like Beaumont, Jules entered her freshman season at Indiana after earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors in her respective state (Texas).

During her 2022-2023 high school senior season, LaMendola put up staggering averages of 17.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG and 3.1 APG. Those numbers dwindled considerably during her freshman campaign at Indiana in 2023-2024, as she averaged just 1.8 PPG, 1.9 RPG and 0.7 APG in 9.5 MPG (30 games played). While her offensive output lagged quite a bit throughout her inaugural season as a Hoosier, she found other ways to contribute to a team stacked with scorers.

With last year's leading scorers (by a landslide) Mackenzie Holmes and Sara Scalia off to bigger and better things, the bulk of the scoring/playmaking responsibilities next season will fall on the shoulders of the assumed starting 5 of Chloe Moore-McNeil, Shay Ciezki, Sydney Parrish, Yarden Garzon and Karoline Striplin. LaMendola will surely have her opportunities to put the ball in the basket and/or make a play for her teammates, but the team will need her primary contributions to come in other, less-heralded manners.

Junior-to-be Lexus Bargesser should sustain her status as Teri Moren's first player off of the pine, but LaMendola, Beaumont, and Lily Meister should each see an uptick in what is expected of them. Within the overall structure of this deeply talented Indiana team, each of these key members of the Bloomington bench mob will be crucial to the team's grander success.

Mackenzie Holmes, Julianna LaMendola
Julianna LaMendola and Mackenzie Holmes, Indiana Women's Basketball / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

In LaMendola's case, the team will lean on her primarily for stout defensive efforts (she is primarily a wing defender but does have the size to take on some large matchups), ancillary rebounding and secondary playmaking. If she can display clear improvement as a shot-maker (just 22.7% on 22 attempts from 3-point range last season), the coaching staff is going to struggle heavily in any efforts to keep her feet off of the floor.

Jumpshot aside, Julianna LaMendola will be a major key to success for the Indiana Hoosiers in the 2024-2025 season. If this team is finally going to make it over the championship hump, they are going to need her to establish herself as the type of player who helps hold things together. She showed an immense amount of promise within that prototype as a freshman, and now it is time for her to officially establish herself as a bona fide glue girl.

Keep going, Jules!