It had been exactly two weeks since the IUPUI Lady Jaguars had played a basketball game. Due to COVID-19 the Jags had to cancel their previous three contests including two Horizon League games. All seemed right again Sunday afternoon however as Fountain Central graduate Macee Williams and the rest of the Lady Jags were back on the court in their home opener to take on in-state rival Butler.
From the get-go it didn’t look as if the Jags had two weeks off as their offense came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. All 24 of their first-quarter points came from behind the arc as the Jags led 24-8 after the first period and never looked back. They’d go on to tie a school record knocking down 16 made-threes in what was a dominating 80-47 win over the Bulldogs.
“I was real proud of how our kids played today,” IUPUI coach Austin Parkinson said of the win. “I don’t think our players were real happy that we had to get shut down. We only were able to get in two days of practice but they came out focused and ready to go. We moved the basketball really well and are a good shooting team. They played zone and gave us a lot of open looks so we just took advantage.”
Rachel Kent led the way for IUPUI in the scoring column 16 points for the Jags in the win. Destiny Perkins added in 12 and Natalie Andersen scored 11. Williams due to the large lead saw just 20 minutes of action but ended the afternoon with eight points, six rebounds, and three assists. Williams talked about what it meant to have an energetic crowd back supporting them in their home opener.
“It felt great to be back,” she said. “We’ve been on the road for so long to begin the season and it was nice to see our fans again after not having them here last year. We were able to give them a win which is always nice.”
Celena Taborn led all scorers in the game for the Bulldogs with 17 points and Sydney Jaynes added in 12.
While Williams is the focus of most teams on their scouting report, this game shows that if a team focuses too much on her that the Lady Jags are more than well equipped to let it fly from the outside.
“This is the best shooting team that I’ve had here,” Parkinson said. “We can play inside out and adding Rachel and Maddy Wise to the mix of kids who can already shoot it well for us helps a ton. We have a ton of weapons that can beat you. I was also really proud of how we came out and defended tonight. That will be the test for us is on that side of the ball because we know we can score. Macee is simply about winning and she never goes out there just to score. Today she played winning basketball for us.”
“It’s nice to know that if I’m getting doubled that we have so many girls who can knock down shots from the outside,” Williams added. “Everyone has the confidence to shoot it so I know that if and when I get doubled the outside shot will probably fall.”
IUPUI improves to 2-3 on the season. They will now go back on the road for two key Horizon League contests, the first coming on Thursday at Detroit Mercy then on Saturday at Oakland.
“We just simply want to play,” Parkinson said. “We believe the more we play, the more we’ll get better.”
“This can give us more confidence moving forward especially knowing that we can knock down those outside shots. We know that we still have areas in which we can improve on so we’ll look at the film and then come into practice ready to go.”
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