Indiana had already knocked off a handful of Top 25 teams this season, but this one was different. It came against No. 2 Ohio State, 78-65, in front of a record-setting crowd of 10,455 fans, and propelled the Hoosiers to the top of the Big Ten standings.
Indiana (19-1) has now won seven straight after its lone setback of the season, a 83-78 loss to Michigan State in East Lansing on Dec. 29. Indiana went into halftime down four points and struggled to score outside of star forward Mackenzie Holmes, but the Hoosiers went on a 17-0 run in the third quarter. The Hoosiers outscored the Buckeyes, 27-6, in the quarter.
“We had an incredible third quarter,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “We were pretty special there.”
Holmes finished with a team-high 26 points in the win while freshman Yarden Garzon added 20 points and 10 rebounds — including a trio of 3-pointers in the critical third quarter. Sydney Parrish also added 12 points and 11 boards in the victory.
Mid-way through the second quarter, only three Hoosiers had scored. Between the fans’ loud encouragement in the second half and the push that Garzon’s 3s gave the team, Indiana proved once again that they can persevere when things aren’t going their way.
“Her level of maturity is unlike anything I’ve ever seen from a freshman,” Holmes said of Garzon. “Not even a freshman – from any basketball player. She just has this knack for stepping up in big moments.”
While the Hoosiers’ offense showed up in the third quarter, it was their defense that won them the game. They were able to hold Ohio State to 16.7% shooting in the third quarter and force a handful of turnovers that enabled them to take over and hold onto their lead.
This is the Buckeyes’ second consecutive loss after starting the season undefeated at 19-0. While the game was trending in their direction early on, there wasn’t much they could do to stop the Hoosiers in the second half.
“It was not good, obviously, but Indiana played really well through that stretch,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said of the third quarter. “...It was disappointing because we thought we had played a really good first half.”
It wasn’t an easy victory, but the Hoosiers fought hard and were able to beat the highest-ranked opponent they’ve faced this season.
“Ohio State is a very good basketball team,” Holmes said. “They’re going to win a lot of games down the stretch, so it was crucial that we got this win tonight.”
The win also puts Indiana a half-game in front of Iowa in the Big Ten standings. The lone Big Ten regular-season title for the Hoosiers came 40 years ago in 1983. The Hoosiers still play Iowa twice — Feb. 9 at home and Feb. 26 in Iowa City — in the final eight games of the regular season. There’s a long way to go until March, but this team is among the best in the country.
“I think the potential’s there,” Moren said. “But we also know that this can be a funny game. If you’re not ready night in and night out, you’re always in jeopardy of coming up short.”
Indiana will have a chance to win its fifth consecutive game against the Buckeyes on Feb. 13 in Columbus, Ohio, but the Hoosiers will stay in Bloomington for their next Big Ten matchup against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights this Sunday. Moren said that regardless of opponent, she has trust in this group.
“You know, in my nine years that I’ve been here, I don’t know that I’ve had a more mature team,” Moren said. “When it’s go time, they answer the bell.”