Indiana women’s basketball pulled out a 67-57 win over Western Michigan University on Sunday afternoon. It never gave up the lead, putting up 47 rebounds and forcing 15 turnovers on its way to a 9-2 record.
Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes secured a double-double, leading the team with 19 rebounds and 17 points; her 19 rebounds marked a new career-high and tied for the 10th most in a single game in school history.
Senior guard Grace Berger put up 16 points, and sophomore forward Kiandra Browne had 10 rebounds and 9 points off the bench. Head coach Teri Moren said Browne was the “bright spot” of the game.
Women's basketball: [COLUMN: Indiana women’s basketball gets a goofy win before an easy stretch]
“I thought KB was the energy player of the game,” Moren said. “She came in and gave us tremendous minutes, a tremendous amount of energy.”
The game stayed close throughout the first half, as Western Michigan worked around Indiana’s defense to make 3-pointers and stay competitive. Holmes said Indiana’s main goal going into the third quarter was to be more solid defensively after being too relaxed at some points in the first half.
The Hoosiers went on a 14-point scoring run to begin the third quarter and took their largest lead of the game later in the quarter at a score of 50-30. However, the defense was unable to keep the sizable lead, something Moren was frustrated with. She said the team wasn’t as good as it needed to be on the defensive end.
Indiana outrebounded Western Michigan 47-29, forced 15 turnovers and scored 38 points in the paint, and Moren said it was largely due to the size discrepancies between the two teams.
“That was the key right there. We just outsized them,” she said. “I think it was a matter that we were bigger today. We were faster, we were stronger.”
The Hoosier offense was inconsistent throughout the game, only shooting 2-16 from 3-point range and 39% from field-goal range. Despite the double-digit scoring run in the third quarter, they also went on multiple scoring droughts to give the Broncos chances to cut into the lead.
Indiana scored over half of its points from inside the paint, which Berger said was a result of the team knowing how to play to its strengths.
“Because of the personnel, we really want to work inside out,” she said. “We really want to focus on getting paint touches whether that’s Mackenzie or Aleksa (Gulbe) on the post or us guards driving in there.”
Despite the win, Moren said she was disappointed in the defensive performance and thought the offense had some miscues that led to a less-than-dominant showing.
“We were guilty of taking bad shots, making bad decisions,” Moren said. “That’s the one great thing about film is that we’ll go back, we’ll watch it, we’ll show our players what a good shot looks like.”
Indiana has a quick turnaround in its schedule and will face Wright State University at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bloomington. Wright State is 1-7 this season with its only win coming Dec. 15 against Lake Erie College.