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Sara Scalia takes a shot during Indiana's loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on March 8, 2024. (HN photo/Kallan Graybill)
Sara Scalia takes a shot during Indiana's loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on March 8, 2024. (HN photo/Kallan Graybill)

Sluggish second half dooms Indiana in Big Ten Tournament loss to Michigan

The Hoosiers got away from what was working after building a double-digit halftime lead

MINNEAPOLIS — It was a tale of two halves for Indiana as they saw its 14-point halftime lead disappear in the second half of a 69-56 loss to Michigan in the last Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal.

In a game featuring two of the top four scoring defenses in the Big Ten, the game got off to a slow start with the teams scoring a combined 21 points in the first quarter. It was in the second quarter that the Hoosiers were able to find their groove, led by eight points from Lexus Bargesser. 

The team’s shot selection and ability to hit 9 of 16 shots allowed the team to head into the locker room feeling safe about not starting All-American Mackenzie Holmes, who injured herself in the regular-season finale against Maryland. Holmes played four minutes Friday. Senior Sara Scalia led the Hoosiers in scoring in Holmes’ absence, finishing with 14 points.

However, Indiana’s good fortunes ended in the first half after the players went off their recipe for success.

“I think everybody was just trying to do a little bit more,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “We just needed to do what we’re good at and that’s share the ball and play off of one another.”

By doing too much individually and not playing to its strengths, Indiana fed right into what Michigan wanted to do. The Wolverines attacked the basket and spaced out the floor, which allowed them to kick out the ball to shooters such as Laila Phelia and Lauren Hansen.

Another factor that led to success for Michigan was its ability to convert Indiana turnovers to points. The 10 Hoosier turnovers turned into 19 points for the Wolverines in the second half, which swung all the momentum on offense to Michigan.

Sydney Parrish, who scored 13 points, expressed her frustration with the result because she said she knows Indiana is capable of bigger things.

“I know we're one of the best teams in the league, if not the best,” Parrish said. “And I think that's where I really got, I guess, emotional and upset because I know we're enough and I know we have enough pieces, even with Mackenzie and Lilly (Meister) battling some injuries and stuff.”

Meister, who is recovering from an ankle injury, played 21 minutes Friday. Parrish said Meister could hardly walk the day before the game, but she tallied two points and two rebounds Friday. Holmes, who is recovering from a knee injury, didn’t score in her four minutes of action. Moren didn’t have an official update on Holmes.

With now a little under two weeks left until the beginning of NCAA Tournament play, Moren said Indiana can use the time to regain its health and go into the tournament feeling much better.

The loss drops Indiana to 24-5 on the season and now the Hoosiers will need to sit and wait to hear what their place in the tournament looks like when the NCAA bracket is announced on Selection Sunday on March 17.

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