Indiana women’s basketball’s season came to an abrupt halt last night as the top-seeded Hoosiers fell to the ninth-seeded Miami Hurricanes in an exciting, bittersweet 70-68 game. For the final time this season, here’s three things:
The First Half
Much like in the men’s second round loss to Miami, Indiana got straight up outworked in the first half. Hurricanes forward Lola Pendande was getting the best of a not-100%-looking Mackenzie Holmes in the paint while guard Destiny Harden looked automatic from deep.
They each finished the first half with twelve points and Harden was 3-4 from the perimeter. As a team, the ‘Canes shot 16-28 (57%) from the field and were 6-9 (67%) on 3-point attempts over the first twenty minutes. They led 41-29 at half.
Again, Indiana’s first half was one of the uglier ones they played this season. The Hoosiers shot just 11-32 (34.4%) and were a measly 1-8 (12.5%) from three during the first twenty minutes. They just looked off.
Sydney Parrish picked up a couple quick fouls and had to sit for most of the second quarter (please do not ask how I feel about the officiating in this game) and Miami’s light press seemed to frazzle IU enough to the point that they were missing shots they usually make. Lola Pendande’s defense seemed to make Indiana a little hesitant to kick the ball inside to Mackenzie Holmes, too.
The offense seemed out of rhythm in settled sets but keep in mind the fact that Holmes did not play in Saturday’s win over Tennessee Tech and was playing her first real basketball in two weeks. Indiana’s offense runs through the All-American forward and it took her a minute to get her legs back. Things got better in the second half.
The Battle Back
Big third quarter runs became Indiana’s MO during the second half of the season and boy did they go on one last night. The Hoosiers opened up third with an 11-2 run off the backs of Mackenzie Holmes and Grace Berger (who was absolutely in her bag last night. All-time stuff from my GOAT). Berger scored the first five points of the half before Holmes came alive to add seven straight, cutting the Hurricane lead to three.
Assembly Hall got real loud but credit to Miami, they stayed composed and managed to strike back, converting on all three free throws after Parrish “fouled” Harden to bring the lead back to six.
Things went on like this for awhile. The Berger-Holmes connection would get Indiana within three or fewer (see below) before Miami would hit a big shot to jump out in front by four or five.
Tied it on the spin! @kenzieholmes_ | #IUWBB pic.twitter.com/AmbrHEltri— Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) March 21, 2023
It was awesome, awesome basketball. Holy moly am I going to miss this duo.
Let’s now jump ahead to Indiana’s possession at 0:49 remaining in regulation. This is when things got REALLY interesting.
The Hoosiers were down three when Grace Berger slung a pass into the far corner, where Yarden Garzon hit the biggest shot of the season (to that point) to tie the game up. The triple earned the freshman her first points of the night, but she wasn’t done from deep.
Miami’s next possession saw Destiny Harden drive hard and draw a foul. She converted on the first free throw but missed the second, which Mackenzie Holmes snatched out of the air before calling timeout. Hoosiers ball with 41 ticks left.
Indiana’s ATO play resulted in a quality look, a Chloe Moore-McNeil left-handed layup, but it didn’t fall. Harden grabbed the rebound for UM before Grace Berger sent her back to the line with 21 seconds left. No way she misses one again, right?
Way. She missed both. Indiana again called timeout and again couldn’t get a good look to fall on the other side. A vintage Grace Berger jumper caromed out and Harden again ended up with the ball. It was deja vu.
Same thing just happened. Hoosiers miss a field goal and Miami grabs the board. Haley Cavinder shooting FTs as Parrish fouls out #iuwbb— miles regan (@MilesRegan) March 21, 2023
Haley Cavinder made both free throws to put UM up 68-65 with twelve seconds left. Things looked grim for the Hoosiers, but then Yarden Garzon did this:
YARDEN GARZON— Mark Schindler (@MG_Schindler) March 21, 2023
YOU ARE MADE FOR MARCH pic.twitter.com/j9yzAcHdlY
SHALOSHHHHHHHH. Absurd stuff. A freshman creating her own shot to tie the game with time running out. Unquestionably the craziest sports moment I’ve seen in person. Hoosier nation was, as you can hear in that clip, feeling pretty good though.
Then the bad thing happened. Destiny Harden was the best player on the floor last night, and she connected on the shot of her life to put Miami up 70-68 with just three seconds left. It’s just like that sometimes.
Indiana quickly inbounded but couldn’t manage to muster up a shot before the buzzer sounded. Harden led the ‘Canes to victory with 18 points while the Hoosiers saw outstanding performances from Mackenzie Holmes (22 points), Chloe Moore-McNeil (9, 4, and 4), and the walking bucket herself, Grace Berger. Berger’s final statline as a Hoosier reads 17 points, six boards, and six assists. She and CMM both played all 40 minutes, playing with a Jordan-like intensity throughout. No shame in losing like this.
Just love this team so much, man. Seeing all the raw emotion immediately after the game was incredibly difficult. Jesus.
Will circle back to this what this team means/meant to me later when I can string together my thoughts a little more eloquently but for now it just stings.