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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

Mackenzie Holmes’ big first half leads No. 6 Indiana women’s basketball past Wisconsin

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No. 6 Indiana women’s basketball defeated Wisconsin 93-56 on Sunday behind 29 points from senior forward Mackenzie Holmes. Holmes scored 21 of her points in the first half to help propel the Hoosiers past the Badgers in front of a regular season record crowd of 10,422 fans in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

In the first couple minutes, it was freshman guard Yarden Garzon — whose mom and sister came from Israel to attend the game — who led the Hoosiers’ offense. She scored the team’s first seven points, the last two of which came off an assist from Holmes in the paint.

However, after Garzon got Indiana off to a hot start, Holmes took over and began dominating the game. On Indiana’s next possession down the floor, Garzon returned the favor with an assist to Holmes, giving the Hoosiers a 9-2 lead which prompted an early Wisconsin timeout.

By the time the buzzer sounded at the end of the first quarter, Holmes already had 10 points on perfect 4-of-4 shooting to go along with four rebounds — two of which came on the offensive end.

After the game, Holmes gave credit to her teammates for opening up space down low and giving her good passes to work with.

“I think it's just reading the defense early on, seeing how they're guarding things and then going from there,” Holmes said. “Obviously my teammates did a great job of finding me in the post when I was open, so that obviously helps. You know, when you have someone that can shoot four of five from three night in and night out, it spaces the floor a little bit for us.”

Garzon finished the game with half of Indiana’s 3-pointers, going 4-of-5 from deep and forcing the defense to guard her closely outside the arc, meaning her defender couldn’t provide help defense on Holmes in the post. Outside of Garzon, her teammates struggled from range and finished 4-of-15 on 3-point attempts.

In the second quarter, Holmes continued to control the game, scoring an incredibly efficient 11 points on just six shots and three makes thanks to solid shooting from the charity stripe. Holmes went 5-of-6 on free throws in the quarter and 7-of-9 overall from the line.

After the game, head coach Teri Moren said Holmes’ ability to get to the line is due to her work and style of play.

"She's such a hard guard because one: she has very narrow hips and she's so quick with her footwork; her hands are soft," Moren said. “I've said it since she's been here: she's just a throwback post player that you don't see often and she has a way of still being able to get her shot off while creating some contact and a lot of times finishing those plays.”

The crowd — which was the second-largest in program history behind the 2018 WNIT Championship — showered Holmes and the team with praise throughout the game. Holmes even got a large ovation in the second quarter just for re-tying her shoe during a stoppage in play.

"On the court, off the court, I love our fans — I think the best fans in college basketball,” Garzon said. “It’s crazy to play against them, so I’m really glad they’re here and they bring really great energy for us.”

Coming out of halftime, Wisconsin played even with Indiana and prevented the home team from growing the lead for the first few minutes of the third quarter. However, a couple plays by Holmes stopped any questions of a Wisconsin run and capped off the quarter with a layup just seconds before the buzzer sounded to give Indiana a 31-point lead.

With the game in hand, Holmes sat for the fourth quarter as Moren gave more playing time to freshmen and newcomers. Despite playing only three quarters, Holmes ended as the game’s leading scorer with 29 points and tied with Garzon for the game-high in rebounds with eight.

In only 26 minutes of playing time, Holmes was unable to continue her streak of consecutive double-double performances but still leads the team in points and rebounds per game this season.

Indiana and Holmes improved to 16-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten with Sunday’s win. They will travel to Urbana-Champaign for their next game, a matchup with Illinois at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the State Farm Center.

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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