No. 11 IU women roll past Wisconsin, 77-49

Via Indy Star colleague Stefan Krajisnik (photo courtesy Wisconsin Athletics)

When Mackenzie Holmes went up for the offensive board, she was the only Indiana player in a sea of white Wisconsin jerseys.

That didn’t matter.

Holmes came down with the miss, was surrounded by three defenders, took one step to her left and scored easily in the final quarter of the No. 11 Hoosiers’ 77-49 victory at the Kohl Center.

“No doubt she needed a game like this where she could see the ball go in,” Moren said after Holmes scored 23 points after tallying just 13 points in her previous two games combined.

The dominant night for Holmes wasn’t just on the offensive end though, and Moren took note of that following IU’s sixth consecutive win.

With a wingspan longer than her 6-foot-3-inch frame, Holmes has become a force inside against her opponents. She made it her goal to average more than a block per game this season, and against the Badgers she finished with five.

Indiana (15-4, 13-2) had no issue overcoming a 5-0 run by Wisconsin to open the game with Ali Patberg leading the way. Patberg scored five of her 14 points in the first quarter, finding no issue driving by Wisconsin defenders.

Holmes got some rest before the first media timeout, and with Kiandra Browne out with a hip injury, that meant early minutes for sophomore center Hannah Noveroske.

Noveroske’s second basket of the season came in the midst of a 17-6 scoring run by Indiana to take control of the game heading into the second quarter.

The second was where Holmes started dominating — scoring nine of her 23 points, grabbing five of her nine rebounds and learning how to face double teams she has struggled against in previous games.

“Just being patient, not rushing and taking what the defense gives me,” Holmes said.

Indiana’s defense allowed the team to push the ball in transition to help establish the high-tempo offense Moren likes to run.

The 49 points allowed by IU marks the fifth time in conference play this season that Indiana has held an opponent to 50 points or fewer. IU did it by holding Wisconsin to 20 percent shooting from the field.

“The guards did a great job of pressuring the ball… which made it a tough time for (Wisconsin) to get into their offense,” Holmes said.

With Browne out, along with recent opt-outs from guard Jaelynn Penn and forward Danielle Patterson, Indiana was able to get playing time for some of its younger players.

Freshman forward Paige Price, who joined the team in late December from Australia, earned minutes in the first quarter. Freshman Chloe Moore-McNeil continued to see playing time after hitting a pair of 3s in a big win against then-No. 11 Michigan last week.

Redshirt freshman center Arielle Wisne appeared in her ninth game of the season, while sophomore guard Chanel Wilson saw her first stretch of three-plus minutes played since Indiana’s win against Illinois on New Year’s Eve.

“It doesn’t make any difference to me if we’re in a game where we’re winning by a large margin or it’s tight, it’s experience for all of those kids,” Moren said.

Nicole Cardano-Hillary made sure Indiana didn’t let up in the third quarter, scoring seven of her 14 points in the frame and joining Holmes and Patberg as double-figure scorers.

Moren credited Cardano-Hillary postgame for the contributions the transfer made on the defensive end, saying she made it difficult for the guards to penetrate while also providing a spark when Indiana decided to run a press defense it rarely does.

“It got to a point where Wisconsin was handing off who brought the ball up the floor — that’s how uncomfortable she made them,” Moren said.

Next up for Indiana will be a chance to avenge one of its two conference losses this season when it heads to No. 15 Ohio State on Saturday.

The Buckeyes won 78-70 in Bloomington on Jan. 28, but since then the Hoosiers have not lost a game while OSU has lost three of four, including a loss at Wisconsin.

Moren said the team has been anticipating the opportunity to face Ohio State for a second time, as a win would put IU in a comfortable position to earn a top-two seed heading into the Big Ten tournament.

“We just gotta keep being who we are,” Moren said. “We are a good enough basketball team, I think, to beat anyone in this league.”

11 comments

  1. I know Wisconsin isn’t very good, but they did just beat Ohio State.
    This was a joyful game to watch. All sorts of girls got to play. Hannah Noveroske showed what she can do. Mackenzie found her shot. Nicole looked like she has a jet attached to her back.
    Wish more games allowed so much substitution.
    I’m a happy man!
    GO IU!

  2. IU Ladies work and strive to meet expectations and come closer and closer…Coach T. Moren is to the point “We just gotta keep being who we are.” “We are a good enough team to beat anybody in this league.” Speaks volumes as IU Ladies basketball program…(this is after 2 players opt out including one starter and another player unavailable due to injury for this game). IU Ladies don’t miss a beat. A great credit to the team of players, T. MOREN and coaching staff. No excuses. Just march on with TEAM.

  3. Time and again I see T. Moren and her coaching staff/s take players in their given situation and players maximize individual potential and as their part of team potential. If ability and buy in attitude is their they do well in IU Ladies basketball program. There have been many from Buss to the one of the latest among others is Hillary. (to me more than a pleasant surprise)…Hillary can play.

  4. No offense to the stat keepers but I had Mack with 6 blocks. Good to see Mack back in her groove and Nikki has been quite the get at her position continuing to give opponents headaches. Because of players opting out and some in foul trouble IU did need to use more of its bench and its always good to see those players on the court. I know IU is looking forward to another shot at the buckeyes and it will be an important game for seeding for IU in the B1G tourney. Go Hoosiers!!

  5. Nicole – what a pleasant surprise. Adds a lot to the team. And agree, good to see players leave the bench and get some minutes. Still like watching Grace Waggoner play. 12 minutes, no shots taken, 1 rebound and two assists. OS game should be interesting. Team seems to be hitting their stride at a good time.

  6. Waggoner…take a shot. (playing her role and speaks to individual+team chemistry and character).
    Trademark of T. Moren and staff coached teams…development and hitting stride as season continues into later in season. It has happened year after year.

  7. Yes Waggoner turns down shots even when wide open. Apparently doesnt feel she’s out there to shoot just reb. , guard, and assist.

  8. One thing for sure Price is not shy, what was she in for 20 seconds found herself open and boom, no basket but did hit the rim on the 3.

  9. Wasn’t that a designed play for Price in that situation? Another example of T. Moren instilling confidence and player development. Put her in position for growth.

  10. So Azzi Fudd will be joining best friend and teammate Paige Bueckers on Uconn next season, doesnt seem fair to everyone else.

  11. IU WBB beat down the “can’t-beat-OSU” demon. At their house.
    It took guts and energy extraordinaire, which are so hard to self-generate on the road.
    Overcoming the momentum killer bonehead play that gave OSU a second
    3 pointer at end of half was special. Overcoming 0 of 3 free
    free throws on one trip in 2nd half was again special.
    Outlasting OSU in their comforts of home was special.
    The Gulbe block that got Poole or the coach a T was special –
    but freshman Poole is another Owusu in the making.
    Similar to the Iowa game, our girls, er, women, “wanted it more.”
    TEAM earned the win, but it doesn’t happen without the hell-on-wheels effort
    and tone established by Cordano-Hillary.
    BTN tourney seeding of double-bye top 4 is carved-in among Mary, IU-Mich and Rutgers.
    If any game begs to be “made up” by Covid cancellers, a Mich and Rutgers game should be added.
    Add NW and IA to the top 4 and the B1G surely gets 6 into the NCAA; one or both of MSU & Nebraska might get in also.
    Mary has one-last tiny-remote chance to lose tomorrow … playing AT NW.
    With #2 recruit, post player, Angel Reese back, expect Maryland to cruise into Final Four and, having seen UConn and South Carolina play… Mary has a great chance to win it all.
    Bueckers of Uconn reminds me of the mental game magic in the clutch of Tiger Woods in his prime.

Comments are closed.