Indiana women’s basketball traveled to a private school in Connecticut for a regular-season game on Saturday. The same Indiana women’s basketball team which made it to the Elite Eight and is ranked No. 4 in the nation traveled to play Quinnipiac University, a team it has never faced before.
Why? A promise from head coach Teri Moren.
“One of the things we’ve promised them in the recruiting process is that we will try to get them as close as we can back in the vicinity or area that their family and friends can watch them and support them,” Moren said after the game. “This is the game for Mack.”
Women's basketball: [No. 4 Indiana women’s basketball starts slow, defeats Quinnipiac 67-59]
Junior guard Mackenzie Holmes is one of 11 out-of-state players under Moren. Since she joined the Hoosiers in 2019, she hasn’t played a game within reasonable driving distance of her hometown of Gorham, Maine.
The closest games previously took place in Pennsylvania and Maryland, which is an eight-to-nine-hour drive for family and friends to watch Holmes and the Hoosiers in person — something few are able to do.
That changed Saturday when a crowd of crimson-clad family members of Mackenzie Holmes made the three-hour drive from Maine to Connecticut to cheer Indiana to a 67-59 victory over Quinnipiac.
“It meant the world to me that that many people were willing to come out and watch me play,” Holmes said after the game. “They still had to travel three, three-and-a-half hours to come watch me play.”
Holmes finished the game with 10 points and six rebounds. She ran into foul trouble early, getting called on two personal fouls in the first four minutes of play in the first quarter. Holmes said she struggled to find a rhythm with the foul calls, especially in the first half.
“I think we adjusted well to how the refs were calling the game because we know it’s going to be different on the road,” she said.
Indiana trailed throughout the first half and well into the second half until a layup and free throw from senior guard Grace Berger tied the game 43-43 with one minute left in the third quarter. From then, Indiana’s offense came to life and found its momentum.
Holmes broke through in the second half, scoring three-straight layups in the third quarter to bring Indiana within 5 points of Quinnipiac. She scored one more layup one minute into the fourth quarter to extend Indiana’s lead to 51-43.
Her fans kept cheering throughout.
“Once we started doing some things offensively, Mack got started there in the second half,” Moren said. “You can tell that they really started getting into the game.”
Moren said while Holmes’ fan club wasn’t quite the same as Assembly Hall, the team was glad to have support and they needed every single fan there to help carry them through the game.
“To have that support from back home is super overwhelming and I’m super blessed,” Holmes said. “I know even when they’re not there they’re still supporting us and they’re definitely always going to have my back.”