Mackenzie Holmes’ first double double of the season led the Hoosiers past Miami in a nailbiter 53-51. In a low scoring game, No. 4 IU scrapped out a victory and bounced back into the win column. Going 1-1 in the Baha Mar tournament, Indiana will celebrate this win, but move onto another massive game at home in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Holmes finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win, which was the finale in the Bahama-based tournament after IU fell to No. 7 Stanford on Thursday.
— Ali Patberg (@alipatberg) November 28, 2021
Although the Hurricanes got off to a strong 4-0 run to start things out, the Hoosiers quickly responded with a 6-0 run of their own. Aleksa Gulbe did a great job scoring the ball inside as well as hitting a jumper from the outside, showing her versatility on offense. After a dry spell hit both teams, Indiana did a great job of being aggressive inside and getting some free throws to fall.
IU started out the second quarter on a hot note, going on an 8-0 run to start things off. Grace Berger got some buckets to go after going scoreless in the first, along with Gulbe and Holmes doing a great job of finishing inside. While they were up by double digits at one point, Miami’s guards began to get inside the paint more easily and score at the rim to cut it to six. Indiana went into the locker room feeling good about its defense, only allowing 24 points through 20 minutes.
The confidence the Hurricanes got from the end of the second quarter seemed to help them in the third, as they managed to hang around with the Hoosiers throughout. Miami even cut it down to as few as three points, as Indiana had some crucial turnovers and missed shots that could have extended the lead. Due to these mistakes, Indiana went to the final quarter only up three points.
A sloppy third quarter helped motivate the Hoosiers to get out to a hot start in the fourth. Indiana did a great job scoring at all three levels, making it hard on the Miami defense to make adjustments. Once again, Indiana went up double digits, but the Hurricanes managed to cut the lead to three again thanks to some huge buckets from their star player Kelsey Marshall. Marshall heaved up a 3 for the win at the final buzzer, but it did not fall, and IU grabbed their fifth win of the year.
Takeaways from the tournament
Going 1-1 in the Baha Mar tournament, the Hoosiers have both positives and things to work on to take away from this experience. The Stanford game proved that IU is an elite program in the country, and can certainly contend for a national title this year. However, the Miami game should be a good lesson on how valuable turnovers are in a game, and Indiana had 24 on Saturday night.
It should be interesting to see how Indiana learns from this experience, because the Hoosiers cannot afford to make many mistakes against a very good NC State team in a rematch from last year’s Sweet 16 game. Indiana will need to be ready to take on a hungry Wolfpack team, as they will certainly be looking to silence Assembly Hall on Thursday.
With Stanford being last year’s national champion, Teri Moren and company knew this would be a challenge for this team. Indiana showed lots of resilience in this game, as Stanford went on multiple runs to go up double digits on IU. But this did not make the Hoosiers quit, as Ali Patberg and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary made some big shots to put IU right back in contention to win the game.
Losing by only three points to a team with the caliber of Stanford while shooting only 32 percent from the field and getting outrebounded by 20 is a very good sign for Indiana. We know last year that IU played its best basketball towards the end of the season, so there is no doubt that this team will get better and we could possibly see these two teams square off in March.
Another positive to take away from this game was that IU had chances to win this game at the very end. Although Berger did not hit her free throws, and Patberg missed a 3-pointer to tie, IU was in this one at the very end. For their first loss of the season, it is certainly a quality one that will not hurt Indiana’s ranking in the AP Poll too much.
On Saturday, IU switched gears from a more offensive-powered team in Stanford, to a more defensive-minded team in Miami. The Hurricanes held a very talented Hoosier offense to fewer than 60 points on the day, marking it as Indiana’s lowest points scored on the season. IU can take a lot away from this game to work on in preparation for what will be a huge game on Thursday.
First, the Hoosiers turned the ball over much more than they needed to on Saturday, as they had 24 total on the night. Moren has always said that the team’s total for turnovers was to be less than 12, and they doubled that goal against Miami. However, the fact they were able to scrap out a win despite some sloppy play is huge for IU, but taking care of the ball will certainly be a focus in practice this week.
Another concern for IU was the free-throw percentage the team shot Saturday night. Indiana shot 11-for-21 from the stripe, leaving 10 points that could have put away the Hurricanes much earlier. Nevertheless, it’s good that the Hoosiers escaped the Bahamas with a win and can focus on a heavyweight battle on Thursday.
Taking a loss in the tournament, especially against a team like Stanford, isn’t the worst thing in the world. But it’s the learning from the tournament and improving off that loss is what matters most. Indiana takes on NC State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Thursday, which is sure to be an exciting game.