Difference From Three-Point Line Allows IUWBB To Survive Purdue's Best Shot
The Hoosiers Are Now Tied Atop The Big Ten At 7-1 Despite The Absence Of An Injured Sydney Parrish Sunday Afternoon
Mackey Arena Where The Hoosiers Beat The Boilers 74-68 On The Road Sunday
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West Lafayette-Last year Indiana went into Mackey Arena and blew Purdue away 69-46 in front of a sold-out crowd. This time things were much tougher as the Cream and Crimson traded blows with their arch-rivals throughout, similar to two years ago.
However, the squad from the southern part of the state got their tenth straight win against their foes to the north. The final was 74-68 in front of a nearly full arena of 11,796 as No. 16 Indiana improved to 7-1 in the league and tied atop the standings with a 16-2 record overall.
The difference was the three-point line as IU survived the absence of sharp-shooting starter Sydney Parrish. As the Boilermakers have done many times recently, they chose to focus on stopping All-American Mackenzie Holmes down low and force the Hoosiers to beat them from downtown in a hostile environment.
This has not always been a strong spot for Indiana on the road in 2023-2024. However, like they did when heading to Nebraska, the Hoosiers cooked from long range hitting a season-high 15-23 from out there.
Purdue coach Katie Gearlds said this was by design.
“It puts you in a tough spot,” Gearlds said. “Obviously we wanted to try and double and make it really hard for (Holmes) to get it going. Credit Indiana because they never looked rattled and you could see the maturity of a championship ball club. Credit to them for stepping up and knocking down big shots.”
The Boilers came out with their “A” game and pushed to a 29-22 lead after one quarter. However, the Hoosiers defense picked up from there as they outscored Purdue 17-8 in the next 10 minutes to take a 39-37 lead into the locker room. IU pushed that advantage to 51-44 before the Boilermakers punched back and scored the last 10 points of the third period.
With Indiana in a war down the stretch, they turned to the place they had all day as Holmes hit her first triple of the season to put the Cream and Crimson for good at 59-56. Yarden Garzon knocked one down next to make it 64-58 and Chloe Moore-McNeil hit one fading away at the end of the shot clock to expand it to 69-63. Finally, Sara Scalia hit the dagger to make it 74-64 with just over a minute to play.
Scalia was 6-9 from behind the big line while Garzon was 5-8 and Moore-McNeil 3-5. They finished with 20, 17, and 20 points respectively to go with Holmes’ 15 points down low. This accounted for every score the Hoosiers had Sunday afternoon outside of an early layup from Lenee Beaumont.
For Garzon, it was a get-right afternoon after several contests in a row where she had struggled. With Parrish out though, it came at the perfect time and was a huge difference in the final result. While not having Parrish stings, Indiana still has the three shooters to surround Holmes at a given time. This helped to overcome the scoreless afternoon from Lexus Bargesser who was forced into a starting role.
How long Parrish is out (she was seen with a walking boot and crutches during pregame) remains unclear per IU coach Teri Moren afterward.
“It happened Friday in practice,” Moren said. “She’s gonna have another appointment Monday and then we’ll know more.”
In the end, the difference was from downtown even without Parrish. IU hit 10 more treys than their opposition with the rest of the stats being pretty equal or in the Boilermaker’s favor. Indiana was outrebounded 32-26 and lost the turnover battle 18-13 but the threes more than made up for this.
IU returns to action after a week off against struggling Northwestern at home (2 pm BTN+). After that, it is a tough road trip to contenders Maryland and Ohio State. Then In February, the schedule flips with the bottom of the conference on the road and the better teams coming to Assembly Hall. This comes after a January where the toughest competition came away from Bloomington.
While nothing is guaranteed going forward, the Hoosiers have shown a penchant for overcoming injuries as they have done with Grace Berger and Holmes missing extended time in the last couple of seasons.
Moren said this will need to continue going forward to stay ahead of the field.
“We’ve been here before,” she said. “Adversity strikes and it’s just gonna require the rest of them to do more. All hands are on deck when one of your starters goes down. We’ve been through it and we do have that experience.”
On Sunday, the production from everyone else was good enough for IU to continue their winning ways. That will need to continue going forward for the team to stay at the top of the Big Ten and among the best in the nation.
Doing The Work’s postgame was a celebratory 100th episode and can be viewed below: