No. 6 Indiana women’s basketball toppled the University of Memphis 79-64 Saturday night. The Hoosiers’ 2-0 weekend in the Las Vegas Invitational moved the team to 7-0 overall.
The Hoosiers started the night off slow, scoring just 15 points in the first quarter and struggling to stop the Tigers. Trailing 21-15 after one quarter, Indiana gave a season-low performance for points in a quarter, and it was the first time the team had trailed after the first quarter all season.
What Indiana lacked in the first 10 minutes, it made up for in the second. The Hoosiers controlled both ends of the floor, smothering the Tigers defensively while making it rain offensively, shooting 6-of-11 from deep in the quarter. Indiana gained a comfortable 45-33 halftime advantage after outscoring Memphis 30-12 in the second.
“I liked the response,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “I just challenged them. I don’t have to say a whole lot, because this is a veteran group and they responded in the right kind of way.”
Indiana maintained its lead in the second half. Both teams went cold in the third quarter, resulting in an even 15-15 split, but the Hoosiers finished the Tigers off by earning a 19-16 advantage in the final frame.
Following a knee injury in last night’s win over Auburn University, graduate guard Grace Berger sat out in the Hoosiers’ win over Memphis. Moren maintained optimism for Berger’s return later this week.
“I do (feel optimistic),” Moren said. “I’m a person of hope. I need to be for her. She’s optimistic as well.”
Moren said Berger is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow night to determine the status of her injury.
Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes had a dominant outing for the second straight night. Holmes scored a season-high 27 points on 75% shooting while grabbing five rebounds against Memphis. She averaged 26.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in Indiana’s pair of games in Sin City, doing so on an efficient 88% shooting clip.
“I go in with the same mentality every game,” Holmes said. “I know my teammates will look for me and find me, so I’m just making the most of my opportunities.”
Due to Berger’s absence, freshman guard Yarden Garzon and junior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil took over her role as primary ball handlers. The two did not disappoint, as Garzon dished out four assists while Moore-McNeil served a career-high nine. Garzon added 17 points and six rebounds, and Moore-McNeil stuffed the stat sheet with seven points and six rebounds.
Indiana’s tenure in Las Vegas resulted in a great balance in scoring. After five scorers reached double-digits in the win over Auburn, four reached the 10-or-more mark Saturday night. Along with Holmes’ 27 and Garzon’s 17, senior guard Sara Scalia scored 16 and junior guard Sydney Parrish added 10.
Although the Hoosiers came out of the Invitational 2-0, Teri Moren expressed her disappointment in the venue, as the setup was far from what was promised. Event organizers apologized to each of the coaches for the inconvenience.
“No doubt (it was a disappointment). I think there are other people who need to apologize as well,” Moren said. “This is not what was described to us. As women’s basketball coaches, we are trying to move our game forward. Because it got so many views on social media, (it feels) we had taken a couple steps backwards.”
Additionally, Moren was concerned by the absence of medical staff on hand. Indiana and Memphis’ matchup was delayed by over an hour due to a 45-minute wait for paramedics to arrive to treat injured Auburn freshman forward Kharyssa Richardson.
“I think any good tournament has EMT and medical professionals on site,” Moren said. “That wasn’t the case and that was another big miss for this tournament. I was very frustrated having to watch that moment.”
Next up for Indiana is its highest-ranked matchup to date. The Hoosiers will host No. 8 University of North Carolina Thursday at 6 p.m. in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.