Friday night started the 2022-2023 season for Indiana with a 86-43 win over Kentucky Wesleyan. This was the first and only exhibition game of the year for Indiana before the regular season starts Nov. 8. In typical Indiana fashion, the Hoosiers were led by Mackenzie Holmes and Grace Berger with both stars combining for a total of 38 points. Indiana went down in the first 11 seconds of play but took the lead from there and never looked back for its first win of the season.
The first quarter started off as expected for the first exhibition game of the year. Three turnovers in just the first minute of basketball started off the game but things got rolling with a Holmes layup for the first Indiana points of the season. The highlight of the first quarter was how well the Hoosiers defended from the perimeter and how well they defended for the entire game.
The Panthers missed five 3-pointers in the first quarter alone and ended the game shooting 5-for-22 from behind the arch. Not only that but the Hoosiers were able to get 10 points off of Kentucky Wesleyan turnovers. Indiana held Kentucky Wesleyan for the majority of the first quarter and held them to just 10 points up until the final second of the first quarter. Indiana got out with a 23-12 lead and led for the remainder of the game.
Both teams started off slow to start the second quarter with only a combined six points up until the 7:33 mark. Indiana kept applying the pressure thanks to Holmes and Berger with both of them combining for 12 of the 20 points that Indiana scored. The Hoosiers were doing much of their work down low, scoring 28 points in the paint in the first half. Holmes led the team at halftime with 14 points while shooting 7-for-9 from the field. Holmes finished with 22 points, five rebounds, and shot 11-for-14 from the field. After the game head coach Teri Moren made it simple by saying it was good to have her star player back.
“It's great to see Mack, looking like the old Mack,” Moren said. “I thought that was important for our fans to see because we didn't get to see that last year after she got injured. So it was great to see her back although Mack is still working on getting her stamina and conditioning.”
Indiana’s outside shooting is one of the biggest questions heading into the season and after the first 20 minutes of play, things seemed a bit dim from the outside. Indiana finished shooting 3-for-12 from 3 at halftime and finished the game 5-for-19 from 3. At the half, nobody on Kentucky Wesleyan had scored more than five points and the Hoosiers led 43-22 after two quarters of play.
Not much changed in the second half. Indiana saw Berger and Holmes take control of the game as Indiana continued to put the ball in the basket. Both players started the third quarter with a handful of layups and finished with eight points each in the quarter. Indiana was efficient all evening long, shooting 58.9 percent from the field after three quarters and ended the game shooting 59 percent from the field. Indiana was efficient all day long, being able to score at least 20 or more points in each quarter. On the defensive side, the Hoosiers made sure to start the season right, forcing a total of 27 turnovers. Moren made sure to acknowledge how this type of defensive play style is going to stay this season.
“If you’re gonna come to Indiana, we've always hung our hat on that side of the ball and if you come to Indiana you’re going to be expected to guard,” Moren said. “We are always going to put a high premium on that side of the ball.”
Indiana finished off the game on a 17-2 scoring run and now starts the year with an unofficial record of 1-0. With Indiana’s lone exhibition game of the year in the books, the Hoosiers are now looking at the start of their regular season. The Hoosiers will face off against Vermont on Tuesday, Nov. 8 for their first game of the 2022-2023 season.