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Jags are going dancing!

Three basketball players laying on the court in confetti
Three basketball players laying on the court in confetti

For the first time in the program’s history, the Jaguars are heading the NCAA Division I  women’s basketball tournament. With a 61-54 win against Cleveland State, they won the Horizon League Tournament and secured their berth in the Big Dance.

“I’m thrilled for our players. It’s been a long journey to get here,” coach Austin Parkinson said. “They’ll get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament, and people will get to see them on the national scale.”

See a recap of the action in a photo gallery from Indiana University photographer Liz Kaye:

This is their second Horizon League Tournament win in three years, but it will be their first appearance in the tournament. When the Jags won in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the postseason and took away their big chance. Veteran leaders like Macee Williams and Destiny Perkins were on that team two years ago and say winning this year was all the more sweeter.

“It’s special because I feel like this season, there were so many people against us – the forfeits that we got counted against us,” Perkins said. “So just to be able to fight the adversity is an amazing feeling.”

Perkins, who scored 15 points, was the game changer for IUPUI against Cleveland State. She hit a clutch three-pointer and was fouled on the play in the fourth quarter. She made her free throw to complete the four-point play and get IUPUI back to a two-possession lead.

“It might be the most important play in IUPUI history,” Parkinson said. “She’s a huge reason why we are where we are.”

The Jaguars say they are ready for the steep competition and challenges that come next.

“We’re all excited,” said Williams, the Horizon League Player of the Year. “We kind of caught a glimpse when we played Michigan and Iowa, so for us it doesn’t matter the team. We’re going to bring it no matter what.

“We don’t care who the other team is, or what their rank is. We’re always ready to play,” Perkins echoed.

IUPUI will find out where they land in the NCAA Tournament bracket March 13 during the Selection Show on ESPN.