No. 17 Indiana women’s basketball enters its matchup with the University of Maine at 5-1, coming off a 2-0 showing at the 2023 Elevance Health Women’s Fort Myers Tip-Off. With victories over then-No. 19 University of Tennessee and Princeton University in the past, the Hoosiers will take on the Black Bears in the schools’ third all-time meeting.
Graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes enters the contest coming off a 20-point performance against the Tigers Nov. 25 and a 17-point performance against the Lady Volunteers Nov. 23.
Holmes, a native of Gorham, Maine, is set to return to Cross Insurance Arena — a site in which she played in numerous high school basketball games. Just over 20 minutes away from Gorham, many friends and family members will be in attendance Thursday.
“[My family] is super excited of course,” Holmes said Wednesday. “This is something that not a lot of players get to experience, and I’m extremely blessed that coach Moren helped make this happen, the rest of the staff here has helped make this happen. It means a lot to me.”
While Holmes was a key figure in each of Indiana’s wins in the Sunshine State, a pair of other Hoosiers took over each of the games.
Sophomore guard Yarden Garzon notched 23 points against Tennessee Nov. 23 — her birthday. The Israeli went nine-of-20 from the field while going five-of-six from 3-point range. Fifth-year senior guard Sara Scalia followed suit, scoring 28 points against Princeton on Nov. 25. Scalia went 10-of-17 from the field while going five-of-nine from beyond the arc, earning a second consecutive Big Ten Player of the Week award Monday.
For the Hoosiers to continue their four-game win streak, players like Garzon and Scalia will be looked upon to fill up the scoring column.
Maine enters Thursday with a 4-3 record, averaging 57.4 points per game while allowing 59.6. The Black Bears are coming off a 72-56 victory over Drake University Nov. 26. Graduate student guard Anne Simon and junior forward Adrianna Smith lead Maine in scoring, averaging 15.5 and 12 points per game, respectively. Simon was America East Player of the Year in 2022 while Smith won the award in 2023.
While it may be easy for the Hoosiers to disregard their opponent and instead focus on Holmes returning to her home state, the Preseason AP All-American knows the contest is just as important as every other game this season.
“I don’t think we are treating this differently than any other game,” Holmes said. “We’re preparing the same. We’re gonna have a great game plan, a great scouting report on them like we always do for every team. So I think we’re just taking this as another game but also understanding that it’s gonna be a really exciting one, too, with a lot of people in the stands.”
The game will tipoff at 7 p.m. Thursday and will be available to stream on ESPN+.
Follow reporters Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and Quinn Richards (@Quinn_richa), columnist Ryan Canfield (@_ryancanfield) and photographer Olivia Bianco (@theoliviabianco) for updates throughout the Indiana women’s basketball season.