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Indiana women’s basketball beats Minnesota 85-62: Three things we learned

Be sure to update the game notes next time, Gophs.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 17 Women’s - Minnesota at Indiana Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a disappointing loss to Iowa over the weekend, Indiana women’s basketball got back in the win column tonight with an 85-62 victory over Minnesota in Assembly Hall. The win moves Indiana to 15-2 on the year and 6-1 in the Big Ten.

Here’s three things we learned:

Mackenzie Holmes is unstoppable

The All-American was on one tonight and dropped a season-high 32 points off 15-17 (88.2%!!!!) shooting. Seven boards, two assists, two blocks, and two steals for the graduate forward as well.

Holmes got it done with the elite footwork we’re accustomed to of course, but also showed off with the ball in space and truly drove to the rack multiple times. This was the best of those:

If any WNBA teams are looking for a stretch post who can run the floor let us know. We know someone.

The thing we don’t talk about enough with Holmes is the fire she plays with every night. Her work ethic is unmatched and IU’s coaching staff has to practically drag her off the floor to rest. Holmes wants to be out there all the time and the intensity shines through on game day.

After a loss, it’s no suprise Mack was the one to toss on the backpack and carry the Hoosiers up the hill. That’s who she is.

Sara Scalia can do it all

I predicted we were in for a Scalia game while previewing this one mainly for revenge reasons. Scalia, a Minnesota native, played three seasons in Minneapolis before transferring to Indiana prior to last season. She scored a pedestrian ten points in 26 minutes off the bench in her return to The Barn last season.

Scalia got the revenge game she deserved tonight by scoring 22 points off 5-11 shooting from the perimeter. She now owns the second-best three-point percentage in the B1G at 43.1%.

Scalia taking over as a sniper is always fun but the defensive growth she exhibited tonight is what impressed me most.

Scalia was the Gophs’ primary scorer during her time with Minnesota and didn’t have to focus on defending too much. When she transferred to Indiana and started sharing the floor with other offensive threats like Yarden Garzon and Sydney Parrish, her defense was not up to par.

She had to improve and made serious strides over the summer. Watch any Indiana game this season and that much is clear... not sure if Minnesota got the memo though.

Scalia’s former team looked determined to attack the fifth-year guard on defense. Especially in the first half. She stood her ground each time and forced multiple bad shots and travels. She was especially good near the rim.

Amaya Battle hit from midrange a couple times in the third quarter but aside from that, Scalia’s defense was flawless.

#14 on her vigilante shit for sure.

Making an opposing threat... disappear

Elite guard play is one of the few things that’s given Indiana trouble this season. With Minnesota sophomore Mara Braun entering tonight averaging the third-most points per game of any Big Ten player, I got the feeling this one could get interesting.

Thanks to Chloe Moore-McNeil, however, I was wrong.

CMM kept Braun off the scoresheet for the game’s opening twenty minutes and only allowed two (2) shot attempts in the first half.

Braun’s erasure forced Minnesota’s offense to run through other players and the Gophers ended up turning the ball over 11 times in the first half. The Hoosiers took advantage and scored 17 points off those turnovers to take a 47-29 lead into the break.

Braun got it going after halftime, and finished with 13 points off 4-15 shooting, but the game was pretty much over by then.

Moore-McNeil continues to prove why she’s a reigning Big Ten All-Defensive teamer. She’ll get another test in Purdue’s Abbey Ellis on Sunday.