The lines started forming before 6pm to gain entrance into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Thursday evening to watch their #6 Indiana Hoosiers take on #2 Ohio State. Even with cold temperatures and snowy terrain, Hoosier Nation poured into the Hall to watch this top ten, Big Ten battle of conference titans.
And a record crowd it was . . . with 10,455 fans in attendance, this was the biggest crowd ever to watch a regular season women’s basketball game at Assembly Hall! And not a single Indiana fan would be disappointed by the action, nor the outcome, a 78-65 victory for the Hoosiers.
“A big thank you to our crowd tonight. Hoosier Nation showed up in a big kind of way for us tonight, and we are so grateful,” said Indiana Head Coach Teri Moren during her post-game media address.
The crowd was intense from the onset. Deafening would be the only way to describe the vibe at the Hall. And the student section, specifically, would make their presence known for the full 40 minutes of competition. There was not a Hoosier bucket, an opponent free throw, or presumed mis-call by the refs that did not receive a reverberating vocal reaction, which appeared to shake The Hall.
There was non-stop action for the first several minutes of the game. Play was physical and the defenses were tight on both sides.
Ohio State can get you in a number of ways, even beyond their defense. They drive the paint, they pull up mid-range, and they can sink the 3-ball . . . they did all of that and more against Indiana in the first quarter of play, but Indiana willed themselves to keep it close throughout the first half.
The Buckeyes outshot Indiana in the opening 20 minutes, hitting 14 of 30 for 46% from the field, and knocking down 7 of 9 from the free throw line. By way of comparison, the Hoosiers were 13-33 shooting and only 5 of 8 from the free throw line. Indiana also didn’t have much luck from beyond the arc in the first half, nailing only one out their eight attempts. But they were not falling into the routine of so many before them, giving the ball away to the Buckeye defensive pressure.
Despite trailing, Indiana had been handling the Buckeye’s signature full-court trap, the one for which they have become the nation’s third best at forcing turnovers. Junior Guard Chloe Moore-McNeil demonstrated incredible leadership in helping Indiana get the ball successfully to the half-court. She appeared fearless in spreading the court and maintaining full vision of her teammates
Mid way through the 3rd quarter, the momentum tipped toward the Hoosiers as Junior Guard Sydney Parrish nailed a triple to give IU a 5-point lead at the 5-minute mark. This was the cap of an 11-0 Indiana run prior to a time out on the court. But the action didn’t slow down for the Hoosiers, as Yarden Garzon forced a turnover and then sank a 3 on the transition . . . and then hit another after the ensuing defensive stop. Another stop and Parrish then sank another triple. Yes, that was a 17-0 run in just 4 minutes. Assembly Hall was electric!
And with just shy of 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Indiana had more to add. Garzon stole the ball and ran the court for the lay-up to give IU a 12-point lead. On the very next play Sydney Parrish did the same exact thing. Mackenzie Holmes simply stood her ground and waved her arms for Hoosier Nation to get even louder than they were. Garzon would run back to play defense, flashing the 3-point signal. Ohio State was forced to call another timeout.
Indiana was on FIRE throughout the entire 3rd quarter, overcoming a 4-point deficit to take a 17-point lead. The Hoosiers outscored their conference rivals 27-6, holding Ohio State to less than 10 points in a quarter for just the second time this season. The first time was during the 3rd quarter of OSU’s win over #16 Oregon.
Ohio State stayed competitive throughout the 4th quarter, but they could not shift the momentum enough to climb back into the game. By the final buzzer sounded, Indiana would hand Ohio State their second loss of the week and climb into sole lead of the Big Ten Conference with a final score of 78-65.
The Hoosiers were led by Holmes with 26 points and 5 rebounds on 11 for 13 shooting from the field. Garzon had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds along with 3 assists. Parrish, who was held scoreless in the first half, finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Grace Berger finished with 12 points. Chloe Moore-McNeil finished with 4 points. Sara Scalia and Lilly Meister finished with 2 points each.
Ohio State was led in scoring by Freshman Cotie McMahon with 21 points, but she fouled out with 4:50 left in the game. Taylor Mikesell added 15 points and went over the 2,000-point mark for her career on the first bucket of the game. Taylor Thierry had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Buckeyes are without guards Madison Greene and Jacy Sheldon due to Injuries.
Next up, Indiana will host Rutgers for a 2pm tip-off at Assembly Hall on Sunday, January 29th.