Different day, same schools, same venue, similar result: An Indiana win over Wisconsin.
A day after the men got back on track with a 63-45 win, the women one-upped that with a 93-56 beatdown of the Badgers.
Indiana continued its dominance in the history between the two schools, extending the winning streak against the Badgers to nine. Indiana’s last loss against Wisconsin at home was in February 2011, and a record-setting crowd made it nearly impossible for the visitors to come away victorious.
An offensive explosion for Indiana saw four of five starters score double digits and nine players get onto the scoresheet.
Here are my three quick takeaways from Sunday:
Indiana’s help defense slowed down the wicked-fast Wisconsin offense
After a defensive slugfest against Maryland, this game was thankfully a bit higher scoring.
IU got off to a rapid 18-5 start just over four minutes into the game, but Wisconsin trimmed the lead to six courtesy of a high-tempo offense that caught Indiana off guard.
But, the Indiana defense stepped it up in the second frame, mainly because of help defense. The Hoosiers doubled Wisconsin frequently down low, slowing the Badgers down and leading to eight Wisconsin turnovers. 11 of Indiana’s 23 second quarter points came off those Wisconsin turnovers, opening up a 21 point lead heading into the locker room.
In total, Wisconsin committed 21 turnovers, compared to its season average of 17.
Grace Berger doesn’t have to be at her best
Indiana’s star graduate guard finished with 11 points off 3-7 shooting from the field. Last year, if Grace Berger put up that statline, you would be worried that Indiana wasn’t going to win comfortably. But, with the insane depth Indiana has, there was no shortage of scoring on Sunday.
Freshman Yarden Garzon, whose parents made the trip from Israel, played arguably her best game in the Cream of Crimson, scoring 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, shooting 80% from beyond the arc. Not only that, Mackenzie Holmes dominated down low with 29 points in just 26 minutes, three shy of her career-high, set earlier this season in the lone loss versus Michigan State.
50 of Indiana’s points came in the paint, as freshman Lily Meister showed a spark with eight points in ten minutes. In total, Berger makes everyone else better even if she isn’t tearing up the stat sheet, she makes everyone else more confident to shoot considering how trustworthy her mid-range game is.
One record tied, another one broken
It’s so easy to get carried away with the play on the floor, especially when there’s one player on triple double watch (Yarden Garzon) and another approaching a career high in points (Mackenzie Holmes).
But, Sunday afternoon was also about the coach and crowd. An announced attendance of 10,422 broke the program record for a regular season game inside Assembly Hall, and there wasn’t a lot not to like for the huge audience.
Not only that, ninth-year head coach Teri Moren picked up win number 188 with the Hoosiers, matching Jim Izard's mark that he accumulated over 12 seasons.
“I wouldn’t want to talk about anything of that nature,” Moren said afterwards. “It always comes down to the players that play inside the lines.”
Regardless of how humble Moren wants to be, her tenure has brought this program from the bottom to the top. She’s already won the 2018 WNIT against Virginia Tech 65-57, and hopes to guide IU further than the second weekend in the NCAA Tournament, where the Hoosiers found themselves the past two seasons.
The train keeps rolling for Indiana, who are now 16-1, 6-1 in BIG play. Considering how much energy was expended in the top ten victory over Maryland, it’s mighty impressive how dominant Indiana was in the game.
There won’t be many more blowouts like this, however, as next up for Indiana is a trip to Champagne to take on the Illini on Wednesday. Let’s not forget Illinois pushed IU to the brink in the Big Ten opener back in December at Assembly Hall.
IU was without Berger in the 65-61 win, but the Illini have been tough for everyone, as they sit just behind Indiana in the Big Ten standings.