Karoline Striplin is IUWBB's New Tone Setter

Karoline Striplin, Indiana Women's Basketball
Karoline Striplin, Indiana Women's Basketball / Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY

While reports have confirmed that Mackenzie Holmes will be back in Bloomington this year working for the Hoosiers off the court, the team will sorely miss the presence of her work on the court. As the program's all-time leading scorer and one of the greatest bigs ever to suit up in college basketball, replacing her in full would be virtually impossible.

With all due respect to IU returnees Lily Meister and Sharnecce Currie-Jelks, the dire need for further frontcourt support was abundantly clear from the moment that the final buzzer of the season sounded in the Sweet Sixteen clash with reigning national champion South Carolina. Incoming freshmen Faith Wiseman and Sydney Fenn (both standing 6'3" and each owning a lot of length) will certainly help bandage the wounds stemming from Holmes's departure, but the aforementioned quartet still lacks some edge and physicality. The starting center for the 2024-2025 team was a mega mystery....

....And then then Teri Moren busted out her wand and worked her magic.

After Tennessee tried their hand at luring Moren away from Indiana, Moren turned around and snatched up the Volunteers's Karoline Striplin. As a 6'3" brute who has started 39 games across the last 2 seasons in Knoxville, she should instantly slot into the starting center spot in the season to come. There is no one area of the game in which she dominates, but she stays steady all-around and is always ready to go to battle beside her teammates.

While she may not arrive at Indiana with an All-Star level track record, it is not hard to get excited about what Striplin can bring to the table.

Offensively, she is not the type of player that a coach will draw up a lot of plays for. Regardless, she has an extended arsenal of tricks up her sleeve when it comes to putting the ball in the basket. Her size makes her a nightmare for defenders to negate on the low-block, as well as on the offensive glass (do not let her career measly 2.8 RPG average in 12.1 MPG fool you). And while her outside shot has a ways to go, her 33.7% connection rate from distance (30/89) across the last two seasons supports a lot of promise for her development.

Defensively, her strength picks up the slack for what she lacks in athleticism and verticality. Beyond that, it is simply her willingness to do the dirty work on the less glamorous end which should swoon the fanbase's adoration for her. Whether it be keeping opposing bigs off of the offensive glass, tussling with low post scorers, checking cutters and/or any of the other less lauded defensive actions that do not show up in highlight reels, Striplin finds ways to make her presence felt.

Karoline Striplin, IUWBB
Karoline Striplin, Indiana Women's Basketball / Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY

As we look ahead into the unknown abyss of the future, one thing to be sure of is that Karoline Striplin will be the tone setter for Teri Moren's team in 2024-2025. She will be the enforcer, the one who gets in an opponent's grill following a flagrant foul on one of her teammates.

IU fans will surely come to love her performance, and her teammates will cherish Striplin's presence.

Keep going, Karoline!