No. 4 Indiana women’s basketball traveled to East Lansing, Michigan hoping to enter 2023 with a perfect 13-0 record. For the first time all season, the Hoosiers fell to their opponent as the Spartans pulled off an 83-78 upset.
“We’re disappointed,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said after the game. “We fought to the bitter end, but Michigan State deserved to win this game today.”
The two teams traded blows early in the first quarter. Each side went back and forth exchanging buckets, shifting the lead several times. However, Indiana went on a four-minute scoring drought late in the frame, giving Michigan State a four-point lead at the end of the quarter.
Scoring two quick buckets to start the second period, Michigan State extended its lead to 8 points — Indiana’s largest deficit of the season. The Hoosiers clawed their way back, led by senior forward Mackenzie Holmes’ 8 points in the quarter, but it was not enough to take the lead. Indiana was able to cut its halftime deficit to 2 points despite its slow start, as it trailed 35-33 at the break.
Turnovers were the primary reason why the Hoosiers trailed. While Indiana forced 10 Michigan State turnovers, the Hoosiers had 12 of their own giveaways and allowed 16 points off them in the first half.
Nonetheless, Indiana was able to tie the game immediately out of halftime, turning to Holmes for a quick layup. But the Hoosiers were unable to get multiple stops on defense, allowing the Spartans to convert on open shots often. Michigan State extended its lead by as much as 11 points in the third frame — the first time Indiana trailed by double digits all season.
The Hoosiers replicated their earlier stretch after trailing big, rapping off a scoring run to eventually tie the game with 6 minutes and 53 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Holmes was still scoring, but it was freshman guard Yarden Garzon who led the run, hitting three Dirk Nowitzki-like fadeaways in the paint to help knot things up.
Michigan State responded as they had all game, scoring 7 points in a row to regain its comfortable lead. Holmes did her best to take over in the paint, but the Hoosiers’ defense uncharacteristically allowed bucket after bucket. When they didn’t, Indiana fouled and gave the Spartans free throws, who capitalized and made 19-of-29 throughout the contest.
The Hoosiers had their chances down the stretch, but turnovers and poor perimeter shooting prevented the comeback from happening. The final buzzer sounded, and Indiana fell for the first time this season.
Holmes finished with 32 points, a career-high, and 12 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Her performance was All-American level, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Hoosiers to a win.
“We don’t have much time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Holmes said. “We gotta get back in the gym, figure out what went wrong, clean it up and get better for Nebraska.”
Indiana finished with 21 turnovers, it’s most in over a year. Additionally, the Spartans converted the giveaways into 28 points.
“We didn’t take care of the ball as well as we needed to,” Moren said. “We knew the press was coming but we didn’t handle ourselves.”
Michigan State provided a balanced scoring attack with four players scoring 15 or more points. Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel led the charge scoring 24 points.
Next for Indiana is a New Year’s Day matinee against Nebraska. Tipoff at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be available to watch on ESPN.