BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — To begin Thanksgiving break, Indiana is giving Hoosier Nation its fifth straight win of the season after defeating Quinnipiac 92-55 inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Sunday.
Indiana head Coach Teri Moren admitted she was actually a little nervous about the earlier tipoff, but said her group looked good in shoot around.
Four Hoosiers reached double scoring figures led by forward Mackenzie Holmes who totaled 22 points starting the game off 7-for-7.
“I feel like we had good control of the game from the start which is always helpful,” Holmes said. “Defensively, we started off a lot better than what we did last year.”
Freshman guard Yarden Garzon went off from the three-point line for the second time this season going 4-for-5 with all four triples in the first half.
“It just so happened that Grace (Berger) found Yarden on those run outs in the corner, and then again you see the specialness of Yarden in the open floor, you know her being able to make plays whether it’s to Mack, whether it’s to the post players running…,” Moren said.
But as always, Moren and her team are focused on defense. The Hoosiers forced 27 turnovers from the Bobcats compared to Indiana’s nine, a huge improvement from last game’s 18.
“They’re learning,” Moren said. “Our system’s not overly complicated. We’re very disciplined. Our Rotations have to be there. Our gaps have to be there.”
In the first quarter, Quinnipiac’s Mikala Morris got the scoring started as she hit a shot off a good look from under the basket.
“At the beginning, I thought ‘oh no’,” Moren said. “We looked a little lethargic. I thought we were late to a few things, didn’t have the fight, the focus that I thought we needed to start with.”
Garzon responded with a three-pointer followed by guard Chloe Moore-McNeil who swished two Threes of her own.
“I think the coaches are doing a really good job with me, in extra practice, with extra shots,” Garzon said. “My teammates find me open. That’s it.”
Morris continued to retaliate as she hit another shot to start her Offensive game off 3-for-3, which led Indiana to a two and a half minute scoring drought. Then, Hoosier guard Sydney Parrish continued the party from downtown hitting a three to take back Indiana’s lead 9-8.
Garzon soon after hit a pair of Threes going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to start while Quinnipiac sat in nearly a five-minute field goal scoring drought.
“At one point in the game, I was wondering when they were going to start getting out on Yarden because she’s so dangerous from beyond the arc especially when she’s wide open,” Holmes said.
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The Hoosiers then went on a 12-0 run off of forward Alyssa Geary and Garzon’s respective layups. Indiana finished the quarter with a comfortable lead at 27-12.
“In the past week, (Geary’s) practices have been really good,” Moren said. “She’s very focused. Her energy level’s been great. She’s staying afterwards working.”
Holmes broke 30 points on the scoreboard sinking a free-throw shot to open the second quarter. Indiana tried to keep the three-point production hot but missed two shots.
Fortunately, Indiana’s excellent defense led the Bobcats to travel and turn the ball over among the Hoosiers’ scoring drought.
Holmes started to shine with a layup off a smooth bounce-pass assist from Moore-McNeil to give Indiana a 15-point advantage with just more than three minutes to play in the half.
Garzon added another three to go a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc followed up by a Berger Steal and fast break layup to force a Quinnipiac timeout. Berger ended the half with her signature jumper to give Indiana the 49-26 lead at half.
Holmes opened up the second half with two buckets from under the basket quickly closing in on doubling the Hoosiers’ score over Quinnipiac.
Indiana left the Bobcats scoreless for more than two minutes until they were fouled and awarded an and-1 to which Quinnipiac’s Mary Baskerville made.
The whistle kept blowing preventing any momentum as the Hoosiers remained scoreless for more than three minutes until a media timeout, two made free throws from Moore-McNeil and a Geary layup got the Hoosiers to break 60 points.
Parrish then entered foul trouble and came out of the rotation giving sophomore forward Mona Zaric a chance to step in for the Hoosiers.
Zaric’s defensive efforts earned her a scrappy steal and led Berger to hit another pullup jumper to end the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Indiana couldn’t get much offense Rolling and kept missing Threes but still had a 30-point cushion to work with.
Finally, Indiana’s second unit got to work and went on a 15-3 run over three minutes with buckets from everyone on the floor including Kaitlin Peterson’s five points off a layup and three-pointer and Zuric’s career-high four points.
“We know we still have a lot of work to do and we’re looking forward to Vegas, that trip and being able to play away from here, on the road against a really good Memphis team and Auburn team,” Moren said.
Up next, Indiana will face Auburn and Memphis in the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
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