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Indiana secures first-round win in dominant fashion, advances to play Princeton in second game

In front of a roaring Assembly Hall crowd, the third-seeded Indiana Hoosiers played in their first-round matchup against the 14th seed University of North Carolina at Charlotte, defeating the 49ers 85-51. 

This game marked the first time Assembly Hall and Indiana had hosted the NCAA Tournament. Indiana secured a top-four seed a couple weeks ago after winning multiple games in the Big Ten Tournament, which allowed IU to play the first and second round in Bloomington. Indiana fans knew this event was special, as a total of 6,389 fans made their way to Assembly Hall for the first matchup against Charlotte, the tenth-highest recorded attendance in school history. 

The Indiana crowd sure made its presence felt as the Hoosiers tipped off against the 49ers in a buzzing opening tip. The game started close as both teams traded buckets for the first half of the first quarter but Indiana later went on a short run, finishing the first 10 minutes up 22-12. Graduate student Octavia Jett-Wilson was pushing the 49ers offense, as the guard finished with a team-high 19 points but no other player on the 49ers team scored more than 10 points.

Indiana held Charlotte to just 37 percent from the field (20-for-54) and only allowed the 49ers to one made 3 the entire night. From the beginning of the game Indiana was pretty much in control the entire time. Indiana held the lead over the 49ers for the majority of the game, having only been down a total of 58 seconds the entire game. Indiana held the lead having been up by as much as 36 points at one point. Indiana also scored 20 or more points in each quarter. 

From the beginning of the game, star junior forward Mackenzie Holmes led her Indiana team. After playing in the Big Ten Tournament, it was clear that Holmes wasn't 100 percent, but she responded by scoring 19 points Saturday. Three other Hoosiers finished with 10 or more points in the scoring column while also having a total of 10 different Indiana players score in the game. 

“At the end of the day I just want to do whatever it takes to win, and so I am just trying to get better every single day,” Holmes said. “And my coaches and my teammates have been really pushing me to do so the past couple weeks, so I think it's been super beneficial, and I'm just really happy to be here and to be moving to the next round.”

Indiana now looks toward its next opponent as the Hoosiers will face off against 11th seed Princeton University on Monday in the second round of the tournament. The Hoosiers now look for their second win in the tournament, and head coach Teri Moren knows the path for her team's success.

“I'll go back and just say this: What's going to carry us throughout this tournament will be our defense, our ability to defend and rebound.” Moren said.

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