The Indiana Hoosiers defeated rival Purdue 83-60 Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out Assembly Hall. Here are a few takeaways:
IU clinches Big Ten regular-season title
Indiana notched its second win of the season over rival Purdue and it was a dominant affair. Purdue was able to keep it close through the first half, but the Hoosiers were clearly the better team all the way until the end.
With the win Sunday, the Hoosiers have officially clinched the title of Big Ten regular-season champions. The last time they achieved this feat was 40 years ago in 1983. The nets were cut down, the smiles were big and the moment was savored.
“I clearly made the right decision to come back home,” Sydney Parrish, a Fishers, Indiana native who transferred from Oregon prior to this season, said. “I know this is home.”
The game itself was one for the books. No one had a bad game on Sunday and everyone played their part.
The third quarter, yet again, was where Indiana shined. They outscored the Boilermakers 27-12 and kept Purdue from making a single shot in the final three minutes of the quarter. Chloe Moore-McNeil continued to demonstrate her poise and talent throughout the game, going 4-for-8 from 3 and finishing the game with 14 points and five assists.
Parrish and Grace Berger each had double-doubles — Parrish with 13 points along with 10 boards and Berger with 14 points and 10 assists. Each member of the starting five scored in the double-digits and it truly was a team effort to get the victory.
Mackenzie Holmes led in scoring with 20 points and seven boards, a performance so normal that her dominance surprises no one, especially Purdue.
“I know there are a lot of good posts in the Big Ten right now,” Purdue head coach Katie Gearlds said. “There’s none better than the one who lives in Bloomington, Indiana.”
The emotions of Senior Day underscore Berger’s importance to this program
Berger is one of the best to ever play in an Indiana jersey. Her name will be spoken here for years to come and her legacy will never be forgotten.
Fans, family and the team were all emotional as she walked the carpet during her Senior Day ceremony. It was her last regular-season home game, her last rivalry matchup at Assembly Hall, and a reminder that Indiana women’s basketball is nearing the end of an era.
“She believed in this program,” Moren said of Berger. “She believed in me and the vision. For that, I’ll always be grateful.”
All good things must come to an end, and the Hoosiers have plenty to look forward to in the coming years, but losing Berger is going to hurt. Not only are they losing a playmaker, a team player and a hard worker — they’re losing a leader, a friend and a defining factor for IU’s recent success.
“She means everything to this program,” Parrish said.
This is how Assembly Hall was meant to look
The Hoosiers had their first sell-out in program history Sunday afternoon, with more than 17,000 fans in the building. This is the second all-time attendance record set this season, and presumably the last ever, barring an Assembly Hall expansion.
“The crowd was fantastic,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “We’re so grateful for all of the people who decided to spend their afternoon with us.”
Fans lined up at 4:30 a.m. to witness No. 2 Indiana defeat rival Purdue and the lines stretched as far as 17th Street to enter the building. The balcony was nearly full and the arena looked as full as it does for most men’s basketball matchups.
This is a meaningful precedent to set for Indiana women’s basketball, but also for women’s basketball as a whole. It’s a growing sport and this level of support from fans will only continue to bolster the publicity it receives.
“Finally,” Moren said. “This is what women’s basketball should look like.”
The Hoosiers will travel to No. 7 Iowa for their last regular-season game next Sunday and face a talented Hawkeyes squad that they were able to defeat on Feb. 9.