The final result of a top ten matchup. The bottom line that saw No. 5 Indiana beat No. 6 UNC without one of the best players the program has ever seen. The end result, achieved through an all-out team effort with each Hoosier firing on all cylinders for most of the game.
With Grace Berger out indefinitely due to a right knee injury, the main storyline surrounding the Hoosiers prior to the start of the game revolved around how they would perform without her. But once the game was underway, an outsider wouldn’t even have known that the team missed their senior leader.
Chloe Moore-McNeil and Yarden Garzon took the point guard role, Mackenzie Holmes and Sydney Parrish ruled the scoreboard, and every other Hoosier who took the court did at least one special thing.
“It takes everyone to beat a great team like North Carolina,” Teri Moren said after the game. “That goes to our entire basketball team when it comes to how we won that game. It was clearly a collective effort by everyone.”
Four Hoosiers scored double digits, and the team shot a sizzling 53 percent from beyond the arc. Indiana’s 12 three-pointers hit a season-high and marked the fifth-most played game in school history.
“On a night where we had to be really good off the arc, we were able to do that,” Moren said. “They all have the ability to step out and shoot beyond the arc and tonight it just seemed like things were definitely going our way.”
Thursday night’s game began as any top ten match should. UNC took a 7-0 lead and Indiana came right back with a 10-0 run. The first quarter remained hard fought as both teams adjusted to the game and their opponents.
But in the second quarter, Indiana made its move. Thanks to buckets from Holmes and Parrish, the Hoosiers’ lead grew to double digits, and they never gave it up. In the second half, the Tar Heels couldn’t get within 12 points of Indiana.
Victory was never in question.
Holmes, perhaps playing at her highest level, left the court at the end of the evening to thunderous applause with 25 points in 10-for-17 shooting. Parrish, who put on a show for her home state, finished her best night yet as a Hoosier with 24 points and four 3-pointers. Prior to Thursday, Parrish hadn’t scored more than two 3-pointers in a game.
“I changed my intake two days ago this week,” Parrish said. “I guess it worked for today.”
Parrish’s 4-for-7 shooting from deep matched that of Sara Scalia, who finished the night with 12 points. Scalia’s performance was reminiscent of some of their best in Minnesota, where almost every ball hit nothing but the net.
If one word had to sum up her accomplishment, it would have been sniper.
Any Indiana women’s basketball story would be incomplete without recognizing Yarden Garzon, a sharpshooter in her own right. The freshman finished the night with a triple-double watch with nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Garzon’s passes drew gasps and cheers from the large crowd that filled Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, and her ability to read the court and make all the right decisions proved instrumental in Indiana’s victory.
“We’re just watching her evolve and keep getting better right before our eyes,” Moren said. “She doesn’t play like a freshman. She doesn’t act like a newbie. She has a level of maturity that I don’t think I’ve ever had in a newcomer.”
The combination of Garzon and Holmes proved fatal to the Tar Heels’ defense, who couldn’t figure out how to stop Holmes from reaching the edge even when double teamed. As a team, Indiana’s ball movement was the best it’s been all season.
The Hoosiers kept a steady pace, and with the abundance of shooters on the team, the Tar Heels just had to hope they were guarding the right person at times.
You’d think that win over another top ten team would feel monumental and hugely important for Indiana, especially given the way the game was played. And for the fanbase, it is. But for the team, it was like any other basketball game.
“I don’t think it was exactly a statement,” Holmes said. “We just played how we play.”
(Image credit: IU Athletics)