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Indiana beats Nebraska to stay undefeated in Big Ten, but Mackenzie Holmes’ injury puts future in question

The No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers headed into Thursday’s game knowing they had a tough matchup against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and it got a little tougher just prior to the game.

IU fans watching at home and in the stands were expecting the typical Teri Moren starting five but just about an hour before tip off the Hoosiers announced that star center Makenzie Holmes would not play due to a knee injury. 

Even without their All-American center, the Hoosiers still bested Nebraska on Thursday, 72-65, to remain undefeated in the Big Ten.

The tough news caused the Hoosiers to completely turnover their game plan and push through with a different type of strategy for this Nebraska matchup. Indiana’s starting five then included Kiandra Browne as she would take Holmes’ role for the game. It was evident before the game that Holmes wouldn’t play as she came out limping before warmups supporting her team from a distance. 

The first quarter started off fast with Nebraska pushing the tempo right away. Freshman  forward Alexis Markowski got two offensive rebounds on the same play for her team as the Huskers started off pushing the tempo within the first few minutes. Indiana took a strong approach for this game, utilizing Aleska Gulbe and Browne off the pick and roll to create open space and 3s for Indiana to combat Nebraska’s start to the game. It worked well for the Hoosiers as they shot 50 percent in the first quarter and 60 in the second from the field.

Due to Holmes being out, we saw a new team on the floor and looked to see how well Indiana’s depth is being 15 games into the season. Moren decided to use four guards on the floor with Chloe Moore-McNeil taking a big role in this game. She finished with eight points, one assist and four rebounds on the night. 

First two quarters were all Indiana scoring 22 in both and keeping the Huskers under 20 points both times in each quarter. Things seemed to be in IU’s favor as it looked to be a blowout for Indiana. But with several shots in the paint and a lot of second chances for the Huskers — thanks to 11 offensive rebounds — brought down the lead and made it within three points with just 24 seconds left to play.

The Huskers made it close and even outscored Indiana in the second half 34-28, but it wasn’t enough as the final score had Indiana’s name written all over it 72-65. With this win, the Hoosiers currently hold a 5-0 record in Big Ten play, making them the first team in Indiana women’s basketball history to start off the season 5-0 in conference play. 

The question now that everyone wants to know is the status of the star player for the Hoosiers. This isn’t the first player Indiana has lost this week, as it was announced earlier in the week that freshman guard Keyarah Berry would step away from the team. Not only that, but with Berry off the team, Holmes injured for the time being and Grace Waggoner on the bench for an undisclosed reason as well, the Hoosiers only have 11 players on the current roster ready to play. 

As the season gets closer to tournament play, a lot of people will ask if Indiana’s depth will keep up as the season goes on. The Hoosiers take a two-day break and then travel up to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers for the first time this season on Sunday.

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