All eyes are on the newcomers, but don’t forget the returnees

Sarah Scalia
Big Ten goalkeeper Sarah Scalia has announced her move to Indiana as part of a three-player transitional class. (Photo: via Sara Scalia’s (@sarascalia14) Instagram)

Indiana has made three big hits this off-season through the transfer gate: Minnesota transfer guard Sarah Scalia, Oregon transfer guard Sidney Parrish and Providence forward Alyssa Geary.

On paper, the trio of newcomers turns to IU’s lineup from day one and use their veteran experience to help lead Indiana to the top of the Big Ten. However, Terry Morin said she doesn’t want remittance flow to become a staple of IU’s program, but instead wants it to become a back-up plan when necessary.

Maureen said, “We’re not interested in becoming an all-transition program. I think we feel we should have a mix of a high school kid who’s still four years old, and we’ve got many of those. But I think one thing we’ve seen with the transfers, It gives you instant experience, college experience, which is always a good thing, especially when you’re trying to build on the level of success we’ve had but also maintain it has been. I think you have to have a mix of both, but experience is definitely important.”

However, this season will not be the first Indiana tour to use the transfer portal. Ahead of the 2020 season, Hoosiers added ex-George Mason star Nicole Cardanio-Hillary through the transfer portal, a decision that ultimately gave IU the final piece needed to form the final Elite Eight team.

But, of course, not all conversions are created equal and not all conversions turn out to be the quick solution that many programs hope for, of which IU is no exception. If IU’s past record and success rate are any indication, though, Hoosiers believe they found three perfect bouts to produce almost instantly.

“We’ve had a lot of success in the transfers,” said Maureen. “And I think the key with all of that is these kids who have decided to move, they want to move to a place where they are going to play and have an impact and an important place in their team.”

One of the guys that was specifically Maureen on IU’s Media Day was Scalia, who led the Big Ten in a three-point shooting last season in Minnesota. And it’s easy to see why Scalia and Indiana might be a perfect fit, given that the Hoosiers’ kryptonite for most of last season was their lack of consistent offshore shooting, a skill Scalia thrived on in three seasons in Minnesota.

“Sarah came to the (assembly) hall last year and put seven (points) on us. So we know she loves this gym, and she told me that,” Maureen said with a laugh. “So we’re excited, for sure, about her firepower. A year ago, she was one of the best three-point shooters in the country. So I think she’d fit in really well.”

But coming from a Golden Gopher that hasn’t experienced nearly the same success as the Hoosiers in recent seasons, Scalia will have to quickly adapt to Indiana’s unique playstyle. This means defense, defense and more defense.

Although Scalia’s offensive prowess and previous production should provide IU with an immediate goal-scoring option, it was her abilities on the defensive side that piqued the interest of Moren and IU’s coaching staff. Rather than letting her former Minnesota habits bleed her time at IU thus far, Maureen said Scalia has completely bought into IU’s philosophy on both ends of the court.

“One of the things we were curious about was how much she cares about defense, because that’s a big part of who we are,” Maureen said. “She’s been a very caring advocate for us and is probably better than we thought she would be, which is a good thing.”

Ultimately, there could be some growing pains early in the season as the Hoosiers try to integrate the newcomers with the returnees, but given the experience and proven skill sets of transfers, the transition could be a lot smoother than anticipated.

And if nothing else, you can bet Scalia, Parrish and Geary all understand the bar that is set in Indiana.

“Sarah and Alyssa, vets, are experienced, understand expectations, and understand the level of success we have enjoyed,” said Maureen. “And so I think, more than anything, it’s in the hiring process that we talked about, the expectations, the standards.”

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