Indiana Daily Student

Defense drives Indiana women’s basketball to 70-37 victory over Southern Illinois

Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes looks to pass the ball against Southern Illinois University on Thursday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Holmes scored 18 points for the Hoosiers.
Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes looks to pass the ball against Southern Illinois University on Thursday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Holmes scored 18 points for the Hoosiers.

Indiana women’s basketball continued its five-game win streak Thursday, routing Southern Illinois University 70-37 to close out nonconference play. Indiana’s defense dominated throughout the game, allowing the least amount of points it has against any opponent all season.

“It’s just a great win for our program,” head coach Teri Moren said. “I thought we did a lot of really good things, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.”

The Hoosiers held the Salukis to 8 points in the first half, 4 points in each quarter. The Hoosiers took charge from the first whistle, going on an 8-0 run to begin the first quarter and ending the second quarter on a 15-0 run.

Indiana took a 38-8 lead into halftime, bolstered by senior guard Grace Berger and junior forward Mackenzie Holmes, who combined for 22 points in the first half. Both finished the game with 18 points.

Women's basketball: [COLUMN: Indiana women’s basketball didn’t need its bench to win, but it could soon]

The 70-37 win also marked the third time Indiana has held an opponent to below 50 points, and the 30th time with Moren as head coach. 

“Something that we wanted to focus on was not coming out flat,” Holmes said. “Coming out strong and keeping our foot on the pedal for 40 minutes and I thought we did a great job doing that.”

Indiana’s offense thrived against a complacent Southern Illinois defense, shooting 53% from field goal range and 25% on 3-pointers. Indiana, which entered averaging 14 turnovers per game, only gave up 8.

Indiana held Southern Illinois to 27% shooting from field goal range and 23% from beyond the arc while forcing 16 turnovers. Southern Illinois graduate student guard Makenzie Silvey, who entered averaging 16 points per game, was held to just 9 as she shot 4-15 from the floor.

Moren attributed much of Indiana’s defensive success to graduate student guard Ali Patberg’s efforts to block Silvey. She said much of Patberg’s success doesn’t show up on the final stats sheet, and it’s really only visible on film.

“What people don’t realize – and now they will – is that Ali Patberg has the assignment of guarding the best perimeter player,” Moren said. “Nothing was easy for (Silvey), and that was the goal.”

The Hoosier bench also contributed 14 points, led by sophomore guard Chloe Moore-McNeil, who scored a career-high 9 points. She played 24 minutes, and in the final minutes of the game, all five Hoosiers on the court were from the bench.

“As upperclassmen I think we’re all really excited to see them succeed,” Berger said. “It’s awesome to see them out there and see the kind of work that they’ve done in practice pay off.”

With the win, Indiana finished 8-2 in nonconference play. Moren said one of the reasons for Indiana’s improvements, specifically defensively, is because of the variety of styles present in its nonconference schedule.

“I think the product that we’re putting on the floor right now is really just because of the experience that we had throughout nonconference play,” she said. “We’re getting better, which is what you want your team to do.”

Indiana’s next game against Rutgers will be the first in its all-Big Ten schedule. Indiana is currently 2-0 against conference opponents, and Rutgers is 0-2. 

The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 30 in Piscataway, New Jersey, and will be broadcast on FS1.

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