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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

women's basketball

No. 6 Indiana women’s basketball handles Northwestern 72-50 in return of Berger and Browne

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No. 6 Indiana women’s basketball dominated Northwestern 72-50 Sunday afternoon in Evanston, Illinois. The Hoosiers had their worst shooting performance of the season, but stifling defense, aggressive rebounding and proficient free throw shooting helped overcome poor shooting.

“Road wins are never easy,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said after the game. “We did not shoot the ball well from beyond the arc, which is uncharacteristic of our team. We still made enough plays and found ways to win.”

Good news was provided for Indiana before the ball even tipped, as graduate guard Grace Berger was not only available to play, but she was in the starting lineup. Coming off a knee injury on Nov. 25 against Auburn University, Berger’s return gave the Hoosiers a jolt.

Indiana proved this early, opening the game on a 7-0 scoring run, five of which coming from junior guard Sydney Parrish. Northwestern responded with four points, but the Hoosiers continued to score. Indiana’s 7-4 lead at the 7:18 mark was the closest Northwestern would be all game.

Berger made an immediate impact, assisting on Indiana’s first three field goals and later converting a layup with 2:57 remaining to get on the board. Shortly after, she drilled her patented mid-range jumper to extend the Hoosiers’ lead.

Senior forward Mackenzie Holmes put up a layup with five seconds remaining in the first quarter to give the Hoosiers a 20-12 lead after one period. Holmes picked up where she left off, scoring 10 of Indiana's first 12 points in the second frame. The Hoosiers took a double-digit lead at the 9:47 mark of the second quarter and led by 11 points or more the rest of the game.

Holmes had 14 points in the second frame alone, and after mirroring the first period’s score the Hoosiers led 40-24 at the half.

The Wildcats pushed back in the third quarter, outscoring the Hoosiers 18-16. Junior guard Jasmine McWilliams, an Indianapolis product, scored eight of Northwestern’s 18 in the period, including two 3-pointers. Indiana went cold from the floor, shooting 4-of-15 in the frame, but relied on free throws and second-chance points to continue scoring.

The third period included the first appearance of the season for Indiana junior forward Kiandra Browne. After battling a hand injury all season, Browne notched a steal within two minutes in her debut.

The same theme applied in the fourth quarter, however Indiana’s defense tightened up to hold the Wildcats to eight points in the last 10 minutes. Indiana remained consistent, pouring in another 16 points to close out the 72-50 win.

“I’m proud of the way we shot from the free throw line today,” Moren said. “Everything was a little bit down — except rebounding — and our defense did what it needed to, which was keep Northwestern at bay.”

Holmes again performed at an All-American level, leading all scorers with 24 points and all rebounders notching 13 boards for her third consecutive double-double and fourth of the season. Per usual, her outing was efficient, shooting 10-of-14 from the field as the only Hoosier to shoot above 42%.

Berger scored 16 points and dished out five assists in her return. Parrish scored 12 points, the only other Hoosier in double figures, and added eight rebounds and four steals.

Indiana shot 25-of-68 from the field — 36.8% — which is its worst shooting percentage of the season. After starting 2-of-4 on 3-point attempts, the Hoosiers finished making just one of their last 18 attempts to conclude at 3-of-22 from deep, 13.6%.

Indiana had 15 offensive rebounds, outrebounding Northwestern 46-33 in total, and 19 second-chance points. The Hoosiers shot 19-of-21 from the free throw line, 90.5%.

Next, Indiana will prepare for a ranked matchup against No. 13 Maryland on Thursday. The game is scheduled to tip off at 6:30 p.m. at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and will be available to watch on BTN.

Follow reporters Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Sebree (@mattsebree) and columnist Matt Press (@MattPress23) for updates throughout the Indiana women’s basketball season.

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