Coming into the season opener on Wednesday, IU was ranked No. 16 in the AP Poll, the highest ranking the program has ever reached in the preseason poll.
Expectations were high for the Hoosiers, and understandably so after head coach Teri Moren returned four of her five starters from last year following a 24-8 campaign.
Forty minutes into the 2020-21 season, the Hoosiers have proven why they deserved that initial ranking. Indiana dominated from the start to defeat Eastern Kentucky University 100-51 in their season opener at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Wednesday afternoon.
Sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes led the charge with 26 points on 13 for 13 shooting, becoming the first player in program history to not miss from the floor with at least 10 ten attempts.
As amazing as the feat is, it wasn’t a complete surprise. Holmes was selected for the Big Ten All-Freshman team a year ago, and then she said she worked extremely hard this offseason to improve her weaknesses.
“I lost some weight and worked on my speed, quickness and conditioning so I can stay in the game for longer periods of time,” Holmes said. “I didn’t do anything special. I just worked hard.”
The 6 foot 3 inch forward was not the only Hoosier to make history Wednesday afternoon.
Junior guard Grace Berger scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists as she notched the first triple-double in IU women’s basketball history, all while not seeing the floor in the fourth quarter.
“Grace is one the best guards in the country,” Moren said. “She can shoot it, she can handle it, she can distribute it and she’s unselfish. I’m very happy for her, but not surprised.”
Similar to Holmes, Berger’s success is not a shock.
She was first-team All Big-Ten last season and was nominated for the Cheryl Miller award this season as one of the nation’s top small forwards.
Today, Berger attributed her dominant play to how prepared her teammates were.
“Like I told Mack, when she’s making shots like that, it’s not too hard to get 10 assists,” Berger said with a grin on her face while looking at Holmes.
The Hoosiers will attempt to set more records and build on their 1-0 start on Dec. 3 when they face Samford University in Bloomington.