BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — All-American center Mackenzie Holmes started Indiana’s NCAA title quest off the bench. She has no intention of…
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — All-American center Mackenzie Holmes started Indiana’s NCAA title quest off the bench.
She doesn’t intend to stay there long.
After watching Sydney Parrish score 19 points and grab eight rebounds and her replacement, Lily Meister, add seven points and three blocks in the Hoosiers’ 77-47 rout of No. 16 Tennessee Tech, Holmes said she plans to return Monday second round night game.
“It’s something we’ve been planning for a while. We’re trying to be cautious after I got beat in the Big Ten tournament,” Holmes said. “I’m being evaluated day by day and so we have today, tomorrow and then we’ll see Monday.”
Holmes missed eight games last season with an injured left knee and still wasn’t 100% when the Hoosiers’ postseason run ended in the Sweet 16. Although she admitted it was frustrating to watch again Saturday, the Hoosiers really didn’t need her to get past the first round.
With Parrish filling her role, Grace Berger adding 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks and Meister and Alyssa Geary splitting minutes in place of Holmes, Indiana (28-3) looked like a No. 1 seed in the finals. three quarters.
But the Hoosiers may need Holmes against eight-seeded Oklahoma State or ninth-seeded Miami.
“I thought Berger was exceptional. She led the way in every way,” Tech coach Kim Rosamond said. “She was just amazing, especially in the first half.”
Maalia Owens had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles (23-10), who have won their previous eight. They simply couldn’t match the bigger, stronger, deeper Hoosiers — especially in front of a raucous crowd that topped the 14,000 mark.
The score was tied at 18 after one quarter and Tennessee Tech led 22-20 after Anna Walker’s layup with 6:53 left.
That’s when the Hoosiers turned the game around.
Meister tied the game with a layup, Lexus Bargesser broke free for back-to-back fastbreaks, and when Berger made two free throws with 2:55 left in the first half, Indiana led 37-22. The Hoosiers led 39-27 at halftime.
Tennessee Tech never reached single digits again.
“We’ve always called it sharing the sugar here, and this is a team that’s unselfish, that’s balanced,” Hoosiers coach Terry Maren said after she picked up her 200th career win. “This is a team that understands it could be Grace’s night, it could be Sid’s night, but it doesn’t matter as long as we win.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Tennessee Tech: Whether it was fatigue from seven games in 23 days, a 36 1/2-hour layoff after beating Monmouth in the opener or just a difference in talent, the Golden Eagles’ remarkable run came to an unceremonious end. But with most of the roster back from a team that made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 23 years and won its first tournament game in 33 years, coach Kim Rosamond can build momentum this season.
Indiana: The Hoosiers showed their wideout depth and how solid the overall defense can be in Holmes’ absence. While the extra rest could keep Holmes healthy long-term, Indiana needs its best player to score points, grab rebounds and wreak havoc in the post if it hopes to win a national championship.
Tennessee Tech: Jada Guinn had eight points and four rebounds. … The Golden Eagles started the game by making four of their first seven 3-pointers before going 4 of 19 over the final three quarters. … Tennessee Tech has never won two consecutive NCAA Tournament games.
Indiana: Yarden Garzon scored 12 points and made two 3-pointers to give her 67 points this season. She tied the school freshman record and could break it Monday night against her sister Lior, an Oklahoma State guard. … The Hoosiers had 18 assists, 11 blocks and 10 turnovers.
The Hoosiers will make their third straight Sweet 16 appearance on Monday night in front of a crowd that could be even bigger — and louder — than the thousands in the Assembly Hall on Saturday.
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