Holmes’ 28 points leads No. 4 Indiana past Minnesota 77-54
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mackenzie Holmes scored 28 points with four blocks and Sydney Parrish added 23 points, eight rebounds and five steals to help No. 4 Indiana beat Minnesota 77-54 Wednesday night.
Sara Scalia had a lucky home game against her former team with 10 points and four rebounds for the Hoosiers (21-1, 11-1), who won their ninth straight game to stay in first place in the top-heavy Big Ten. Grace Berger had nine assists despite a night of 2-on-10 shooting.
Mallory Heyer had 16 points, Mara Braun had 13 points, and Alanna Micheaux added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers (9-13, 2-9), who have lost eight of their last nine games. They are 0-7 against the top seven teams in the conference with an average loss margin of 21 points.
Holmes, the second-best scorer in the Big Ten behind Iowa All-American Caitlin Clark, had 10 of her team’s first 12 points. The Hoosiers spent most of the first quarter in the paint, and the 6-foot-3 Holmes had their smooth post moves at their best without Micheaux being able to bother them.
Then Parrish found some space, waving 3-pointers off the wing on three of Indiana’s top five possessions in the second quarter. Berger’s pullup jumper from the break at 1:57 before halftime gave the Hoosiers a 41-15 lead, the biggest of the game.
The Hoosiers, who earned the program’s best-ever ranking in this week’s Associated Press poll, have won in their current series by an average of 14 points. The closest game was a 68-61 win at now-no. 8 Maryland visiting No. 6 Iowa Thursday night to control second place.
The Gophers, who suffered a season-worst 77-41 loss at home on Sunday afternoon, are now No. 18 Michigan, ended in another one-sided loss to a conference power. But Braun gave them a spark towards the end of the second quarter with a 3-point ball, which spurred a half-time bridging 11-0 run.
The Gophers went 52-40 late in the third quarter on another deep ball from Braun before the Hoosiers began to pull away again.
Scalia, who along with Lilly Meister is one of two Minnesota natives who play for the Hoosiers, was the Gophers’ top scorer last season. She was coach Lindsay Whalen’s first recruit after being hired by Minnesota in 2018.
Transfer Scalia With the simple goal of getting more wins in the stacked Big Ten, she’s reluctant to spend her last two years with such a young team. She’s more of a supplemental player now and has come off the bench in the last eight games since Berger returned from a knee injury, but the Hoosiers need her outside touch.
Coach Teri Moren recently begged them to keep shooting amid a significant slump as Scalia shot just 26% from field (24 to 91) and 19% from 3-point range (8 to 42) in Big Ten games.
Indiana: The six remaining regular-season games for the Hoosiers are all against teams in the top half of the Big Ten, including two matchups against Iowa. Their only loss came at Michigan State on December 29, when Holmes had a career-high 32 points.
Minnesota: Braun and Heyer are two of the seven freshmen on the list, an announced class that Whalen and her staff have been betting on to speed up this long rebuild. They need to become a better shooting team, which currently ranks second to bottom in the league in terms of field goal percentage.
Indiana: Visit Purdue on Sunday afternoon. The Boilermakers (15-6, 6-5) beat then-No. 22 Illinois and then-No. 2 Ohio State last week and are seventh in the Big Ten.
Minnesota: Visits Illinois on Sunday afternoon. The Illini, fifth in the conference, won the first meeting here 70-57.
AP Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll