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Indiana senior guard Sara Scalia takes a shot during Indiana's win over Vermont on Nov. 8. (HN photo/Max Wood)
Indiana senior guard Sara Scalia takes a shot during Indiana's win over Vermont on Nov. 8. (HN photo/Max Wood)

No Grace Berger, No Problem: No. 5 Indiana breezes past No. 6 North Carolina in 87-63 win

A strong night from beyond the arc propelled the Hoosiers to a statement win

Less than 24 hours after the men took care of North Carolina, the Indiana women’s basketball team, despite playing without arguably its best all-around player, did the same to the Tar Heels.

But this one wasn’t even close. 

In their third game without senior Grace Berger, the Hoosiers tied their season-high with 12 3-pointers, including four apiece from Sara Scalia and Sydney Parrish, en route to a 87-63 victory over No. 6 North Carolina at Assembly Hall. 

“Our men started it last night, and we felt that we had a responsibility to finish off the Tar Heels tonight,” coach Teri Moren said after the rout. 

Indiana were a perfect 5-for-5 beyond the arc up until the second quarter, and continued to shoot the ball at a high level all game, finishing 12-for-22 from long range. Defensively, it wasn’t their best performance with plenty of open looks for North Carolina.

However, it didn’t matter. 

The Hoosiers showed they can score at a high level, despite their shorthanded roster. In the three games since Berger has been out of the lineup, Indiana has still averaged more than 87 points per contest. 

“We did that without Grace Berger, which is huge for us,” Parrish said. “We knew we had to play for her.”

Initially Berger was listed as day-to-day. However, after Thursday’s game, Moren deemed her out indefinitely. She was seen with crutches and a boot on the bench during the game. 

The two starting transfers were brought in to add perimeter shooting, and that’s exactly what they did. Scalia and Parrish combined to go 8-for-14 from deep. Scalia made multiple shots from well beyond the 3-point line and Parrish, in addition to shooting well, also grabbed six rebounds and had two steals. 

“I changed my shot,” said Parrish, who came into the game shooting 27 percent from 3. “I changed my shot two days ago, and I guess it worked.”

Last season, the Hoosiers averaged fewer than five 3-pointers made per game. This season, they average more than eight per contest. 

But Indiana doesn’t just shoot well; they play well. They make crafty offensive plays, get to the basket, and score in a variety of ways. 

Mackenzie Holmes finished with a team-high 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field, and everyone contributed to the victory. The starting five was out there for the majority of the game, but freshman Henna Sandvik was given extended minutes with Berger out and reserve guard Kaitlin Peterson leaving the program. Sandvik, a freshman guard from Finland, was able to sink a long ball early on in the game and logged 18 minutes in the rout. 

“It was clearly a collective effort by everybody,” Moren said. “We knew that everybody needed to do a little bit extra, a little bit more without Grace being out there. I thought that we answered the bell.”

Indiana improved to 8-0 with the win and the Hoosiers will face Illinois in the Big Ten opener on Sunday. In all likelihood, Berger will be a spectator once again. But the Hoosiers showed that even without Berger on the hardwood, they were able to demolish an extremely talented North Carolina squad — one that entered the game undefeated with a pair of wins over ranked teams on its resume. 

Moren stated in her preseason press conference that her goal was to get a banner and win the national title this year. The way they played against the Tar Heels, that may not be out of the question. 

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