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Three Things: Indiana women’s basketball beats Tennessee Tech, 77-47

The 1-seed from Indiana actually beat a 16-seed this time.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - First Round - Tennessee Tech v Indiana Photo by Joe Robbins/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

1-seed Indiana women’s basketball lived up to its ranking earlier today, taking care of business against 16-seed Tennessee Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Here’s three things from the Hoosiers’ 30 point victory in Assembly Hall:

No Mack

The big story in this one was made apparent a couple hours prior to tip, when Indiana announced that AP All-American forward Mackenzie Holmes would be limited against TTCU:

Ruh Roh. Holmes, the 2023 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, missed extended time a season ago with a knee injury but had been playing at 100% this year up until the Big Ten tournament. She went down early in IU’s quarterfinal win over Michigan State and remained in the game but seemed banged up for the rest of the tourney. She dressed but did not enter today’s game at any point.

Holmes’ absence opened the door for freshman Lilly Meister to get her first start at the five. She played well! Meister finished with seven points, five boards, three blocks, and just one personal foul in 20 minutes on the floor. She’s looked good in relief of Holmes all year but was only averaging 6.6 minutes per game... seeing her live up to expectations during an extended run bodes very well for her development in terms of next season and beyond. Graduate transfer Alyssa Geary got the lions share of the remaining “bigs” minutes with Holmes and Kiandra Browne out.

Mackenzie Holmes finished the regular season tied for the Big Ten lead in blocks per game with 1.9, yet Indiana still managed to tally a season-high eleven (11) denials without her. Blocks stack up pretty quickly when you’re getting more than one in a single possession:

Favorite play of the day. What can’t Grace Berger do?

Back to Mackenzie Holmes though, hopefully she is good to go by Monday. Managing against Miami’s All-ACC honorees Haley Cavinder and Destiny Harden will not be easy without her.

Fast AF

Just as most 1 vs. 16 games go, Indiana won this game because they were bigger, faster, and stronger than Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles made things a little interesting at first, hitting four threes in the first quarter to keep the game tied after ten minutes, but it was all Hoosiers after that. Indiana got after it in transition early and often, stringing together fast break after fast break that looked a lot like this:

Real pretty basketball. Indiana finished the game with 29 fast break points.

The Hoosiers offensive output in this one was pretty balanced. Sydney Parrish led the way with 19 points (7-14 from the field) while Grace Berger had 17 and Yarden Garzon had twelve. 5-16 shooting from deep could be cleaned up, but playing without Mackenzie Holmes made this whole game a little weird. Not making anything of it right now, survive and advance.

What next?

Indiana will face 9-seed Miami at some point on Monday in Assembly Hall. The Hurricanes just defeated 8-seed Oklahoma State 62-61 in a very fun game, we’ll have more on them for you in a bit.

In other tourney news, Indiana’s region (Greenville 2) has been one of the more exciting ones as Princeton and FGCU have both managed upset wins as double digit seeds. All the teams that can hang with Indiana are still kicking, however, so the Hoosiers’ path to Dallas remains unaltered. Potential second weekend meetings with Mackenzie Holmes’ fellow first team All Americans Maddy Siegrist of Villanova and Angel Reese of LSU should entice Ball Knowers nationwide.