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Monday, May 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

Indiana women’s basketball advances in NCAA Tournament with 89-56 win over Fairfield


No. 4 seed Indiana women’s basketball looked to defend its home court Saturday afternoon in an NCAA Tournament first-round matchup against No. 13 seed Fairfield University. While the Hoosiers entered as the higher seed and heavy favorites, the visiting Stags put up a valiant effort with hopes of providing the madness in March. 

Although trailing for much of the second quarter, a massive second-half offensive burst was more than enough for Indiana, as the Hoosiers advanced with an 89-56 win. 

Both sides played to their respective strengths in the first quarter, as Indiana found efficient looks around the rim and Fairfield generated open perimeter shots with rapid ball movement. Hoosier guards fifth-year senior Sara Scalia and sophomore Yarden Garzon combined for 13 points in the initial frame, powering Indiana to a 20-17 lead as the quarter came to a close. 

The Hoosiers jumped out to a 24-20 lead with 8:33 remaining in the second period, but the Stags refused to go quietly and stormed back in a hurry. A 9-0 run, helped in part by multiple Indiana turnovers, gave Fairfield a 29-24 advantage with a monumental upset on its mind. However, the veteran leadership of graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes brought the Hoosiers storming back in rapid succession.  

Returning to the starting lineup following a late-season knee injury, Holmes headlined a 14-5 Indiana run with an old-fashioned 3-point play, sending Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall into a roar. As a result, Indiana entered the halftime intermission with a 38-34 lead and an invaluable wave of momentum. 

When the teams returned to the court, the third quarter appeared to be another close-knit affair like that of the first half as Fairfield brought the score to 46-43 with 7:24 behind a trio of makes from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers had other plans though, stringing together a 13-0 run capped off by some long-range Scalia string music in transition. 

When the third period concluded, Indiana held a 64-49 upper hand with Scalia already eclipsing the 20-point mark.  

The final quarter resembled a curtain call for Indiana, one which was highlighted by back-to-back Scalia 3-pointers to give Indiana a 25-point advantage. After which, she was subbed out and received a standing ovation thanks to a game-high 27-point performance on 9-for-16 shooting.  

Indiana’s blowout win advances the Hoosiers to the second round, where they will face the winner of Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Oklahoma game on Monday. The official tip-off time is yet to be announced. 

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.

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