Every story you hear about Mackenzie Holmes speaks to the kind of person she is off the basketball court.
There’s the little tidbits of information, like the fact that she was the one watching Miller Kopp’s dog whenever he had a game. Her teammates saying that if anyone ever needs a ride anywhere they know she’ll have their back.
She cheers from the back of the room whenever her teammates or head coach Teri Moren take the stage at a press conference. She’s quick to sing the praises of teammates and pass off credit to them.
Mackenzie Holmes has been an incredible representative of Indiana University during her time in Bloomington and will continue to do so once she moves on from here. She’s also been an incredible representative of her home state of Maine.
If you look up who’s searching “Indiana women’s basketball” around the country, Maine comes in second place after Indiana among the 50 U.S. states. She’s proud to be from there and they’re proud of all she’s done in a Hoosiers uniform.
And she’s not done yet.
On the Court
Mackenzie Holmes is, without a doubt, the most dominant post player in the entire country. On offense and defense. She won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year while averaging 22.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
She was an AP First Team All-American, the program’s first, last year for a reason and she’s a preseason first teamer this year as well.
The mere threat of Holmes down low opens up space on the arc for shooters like Sara Scalia, Yarden Garzon, Sydney Parrish and more. She’s the reason why Indiana has so many different ways of beating teams on offense.
On defense she’s a looming presence in the paint capable of shutting down some of the best post scorers in the country and baiting them into fouling out.
If Holmes gets the ball down low she’s almost unstoppable as a scorer. Between her frame and footwork she can get the ball to the rim through a defender or two. Or, at times last year, three.
Multiple players have been forced into fouling her on shots that just go in anyway, she’s that good and typically knocks down the accompanying free throws in turn.
Indiana loaded up on 3-point shooting talent last offseason with Sydney Parrish, Sara Scalia and Yarden Garzon. The attention they demand from the arc only opens more space for Holmes to get open in the paint and vice versa, it’s excellent complimentary offensive basketball.
She uses the attention her presence demands to her advantage. If she’s double or triple teamed, somebody else is open. She’s finding an outlet and getting the ball into ideal scoring position. Indiana’s offense is built on ball movement and finding the best available shot, and every player on the court does so at a high level.
If a shot doesn’t go down, Holmes is a capable rebounder as well even through aforementioned double teams.
Drive the lane at Mackenzie Holmes at your own peril.
Five years of Big Ten basketball and facing competition at the highest level matter here. Nobody is trying anything that Holmes hasn’t seen and stopped before.
Most layups attempted when Holmes is in the area end up being launched into the stands. She’s an instinctive, attentive shot blocker and you’re really better off just passing the ball off. That presence in the lane is enough to deter drives to the rim if the ball-handler can get past the perimeter defense.
She’s an incredible talent, but more time spent on the bench is in everyone’s best interest giving the long league schedule.
She’ll have an opportunity to repeat as the league’s best defender and best post in the country. Her legacy is already cemented as a Mount Rushmore type player in program history regardless.