No. 5 Indiana’s 3-point barrage buries No. 6 North Carolina
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Mackenzie Holmes scored 25 points, Sydney Parrish added 24 and No. 5 Indiana hit 12 3-pointers to defeat No. 6 North Carolina 87-63 on Thursday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The battle of unbeatens had drastically different shooting nights. The Hoosiers got hot to improve to 8-0 and the Tar Heels did not to drop to 6-1. The Hoosiers hit eight 3s to build a 16-point lead by halftime. Parrish, a junior transfer starting for injured senior guard Grace Berger, hit four 3s as did senior guard Sara Scalia.
“We did that without Grace Berger, which was huge for us,” Parrish said of the three-time All-Big Ten standout, who is out indefinitely with a right knee injury. “We knew we had to play for her.”
The successful outside shooting opened up inside room for Holmes, the Big Ten Player of the Week. When the senior center wasn’t scoring, she was drawing Tar Heel fouls.
“I don’t think it was exactly a statement,” Parrish said. “We played how we play. We just came out and played hard. We should play like that every night.”
Hoosiers coach Teri Moren wore a “Grace Berger 34” sweatshirt.
“In order to beat a great team like North Carolina, it takes everybody,” Moren said. “We knew that everybody needed to do a little extra, a little more, without Grace being out there. We answered the bell in a big kind of way tonight.”
Indiana finished 12 of 22 from beyond the arc. The 12 3s tied a season high, the other dozen in a season-opening blowout of Vermont.
“I changed my shot this week,” Parrish said. “I guess it worked for today.”
North Carolina was 7 of 14 from beyond the arc, but shot just 35.4% overall (23 of 65).
“They really shot,” Tar Heels coach Courtney Banghart said. “Until the last two misses, they were 70% from three. We just really couldn’t make a basket. We were missing layups. We really struggled to finish.”
Tar Heels junior guard Kennedy Todd Williams had 20 points. Junior guard Deja Kelly added 11.
“The environment took us away a little bit because it was loud,” Banghart said. “We’ll play in great environments like that because when you’re a top-10 team, that’s what you get now. That’s the takeaway. The environment can’t tighten you up offensively.”
The game started in streaks as North Carolina scored the first seven points, then Indiana responded with the next 13. The Hoosiers went on a 10-0 run for a 34-21 advantage. The largest first-half edge was 49-33 at halftime after Indiana outscored North Carolina 22-12 in the second quarter.
Moren said her team wanted to complete a sweep of the Tar Heels after the 10th-ranked Hoosier men downed North Carolina on Wednesday night. And she was appreciative of a loud crowd providing energy.
“Just like last night, this is a hard place to play when you feel this place, from the energy to the noise,” Moren said.
North Carolina: After winning back-to-back games against ranked foes, the Tar Heels took a step back due to shaky perimeter defense and cold shooting. But this team is talented so expect the players to use this humble road experience as motivation.
Indiana: After a series of double-digit wins against non-ranked opponents, the Hoosiers were quite impressive in what was supposed to be their first real test of the season. Excellent 3-point shooting and solid defense gave this team confidence early on and that momentum kept building.
North Carolina: Host North Carolina-Wilmington on Wednesday.
Indiana: Host Illinois on Sunday.
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