Indiana’s Teri Moren wins AP Coach of the Year

DALLAS — Teri Moren has guided Indiana to unprecedented heights this season.

The team won its first Big Ten regular-season championship in 40 years, rose to No. 2 in The Associated Press’s women’s basketball poll and earned the school’s first No. 1 finish in the NCAA tournament.

Moren was honored Thursday for AP Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, the first time she has won the award. She received 12 votes from the 28-member national media panel that votes on the AP Top 25 each week. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley was second with eight votes. Utah’s Lynne Roberts received five and Virginia Tech’s Kenny Brooks three.

Voting was conducted prior to the NCAA tournament.

“I think a lot of people felt that this is going to be a year where Indiana reloads, rebuilds, they’re not going to be as good as the year before. We finished third in the Big Ten,” Moren said.

Moren was surprised by her team, who told her that she had won in an elaborate ruse.

“You can always share it with people who made it possible. the staff, the players, the key people who were instrumental in the season and this award is something special. I was speechless.”

Moren accepted the award at the Final Four and shared the stage with AP Player of the Year Caitlin Clark to complete a Big Ten sweep.

The team has come a long way since Moren was a young girl growing up in southern Indiana. She was a die-hard fan of the Indiana basketball team. Namely the men.

As a child, she attended men’s games with her family and was a big fan of coach Bob Knight. She keeps a constant reminder of the Hall of Fame coach in her office, as a picture of his infamous chair-throwing incident hangs by the door. Moren said it was the last thing she saw before heading out to practice.

As for the women’s team, they just weren’t very good. Times have changed as Moren has expanded the program into a working-class team focused on defense and has been a consistent top-25 team for the past few seasons, appearing on the poll for 75 consecutive weeks beginning with the preseason 2019-2020. This is the fourth longest active streak.

Previously, the Hoosiers had been ranked a total of six times.

“People are still talking to me about living in Bloomington and they couldn’t afford a ticket to the men’s game. Not that they settled down, but became women’s basketball fans. At that moment, you could go in and find any seat you wanted and watch women’s basketball,” Moren said.

“There were 300-400 people in the stands, to what it is today it’s incredible to see it grow. Things you dream of seeing, fans and dead bodies in the rafters.

The Hoosiers have had six of the school’s top 10-attended games this season, including over 13,000 fans in the first round of the NCAA tournament and 14,000 in the second round — a shocking loss to Miami.

“It hurts right now, but the last game doesn’t define our season,” Moren said.

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