IU women’s basketball cruised past in-state rival Purdue University at Mackey Arena in a 66-45 win on Thursday.
IU’s win wasn’t clear from the start as both teams struggled to maintain any kind of lead in the first quarter. Purdue’s offense gave up six turnovers in the period while IU ran into a five-minute scoring drought, ending the quarter in a 12-12 tie.
However, the Hoosiers began to control the game on both ends of the court in the second quarter. Scoring from sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes and junior guard Grace Berger helped to grow IU’s lead as the team went on a 27-5 run for just under 14 minutes in the game.
Holmes initiated the stretch with a layup at 1:08 in the first period, and Berger finished it off with a jumper at the 7:09 mark in the third period.
Holmes led IU at the half with 14 points, while Berger accounted for 7 points after hitting a deep buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the second quarter.
“I don’t think it was just that shot,” Berger said about her last-second bucket. “We got hot there in the second quarter, so that was the cherry on top. It’s always nice to go into halftime with a lead, with momentum.”
As Purdue continued to struggle finding the net in the third quarter, Berger helped to grow IU’s lead by putting up nine points in the third quarter. Berger’s points were complemented by 3 points from Holmes and 4 points by junior forward Aleksa Gulbe.
IU led 50-27 by the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter strayed from the game trend as Purdue outscored IU 18-16, but Purdue’s efforts were not enough to touch IU’s considerable lead. Head coach Teri Moren said this was her one disappointment in her team’s play.
“We looked a little disinterested in the fourth at about the seven minute mark on both sides of the ball,” Moren said. “I want our kids to learn how to finish games off the right way. That’s maturity and that’s understanding what that looks like.”
Despite the Hoosiers' energy dropping late, they came away with their sixth Big Ten win by at least 21 points after ending the game with a 66-45 victory.
Berger came away with a game-high in both points and assists with 22 and seven, respectively. Holmes followed close behind with 20 points, and Gulbe had a game-high of six rebounds.
With another win added to IU’s résumé, Berger said this doesn’t mean the team can sit comfortably.
“When we do have those twenty point blowout wins, we need to make sure to still learn from that, and still get better in those games and not take our foot off the pedal,” Berger said.