Indiana routs Tennessee Tech with Mackenzie Holmes on the sidelines

ESPN News Services2 minute reading

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Sydney Parrish scored 19 points and had eight rebounds to lead the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers past Tennessee Tech 77-47 in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

American center Mackenzie Holmes cheered on her Indiana teammates from the bench as they rested a sore knee. Grace Berger had 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks, and Lilly Meister added seven points and three blocks in her first career start.

Indiana (28-3) will face the winner of Saturday’s second game between eighth-seeded Oklahoma State and ninth-seeded Miami.

Coach Teri Moren said after the game that Holmes was available on an emergency basis, and she is optimistic the senior will be able to play in Monday’s second-round game, where the Hoosiers will be chasing their Sweet 16 appearance in a row.

“(Holmes) was limited during the week, available if needed (today), and so very upbeat, feeling really good about her Monday,” Moren said.

Maaliya Owens had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead Tennessee Tech (23-10), which had won its previous eight games.

After ending the first quarter tied at 18, the Golden Eagles took a 22-20 lead on Anna Walker’s layup with 6:53 left.

Then the Hoosiers canceled. Meister tied it with a layup, Lexus Bargesser followed with back-to-back layups on fast breaks and when Berger made two free throws with 2:55 left in the first half, Indiana led 37-22.

Tennessee Tech never got within single digits again.

Whether it was the fatigue of playing seven games in 23 days, the 36½-hour turnaround from their play-in win over Monmouth or simply the difference in talent, the Golden Eagles’ remarkable run came to an unwise end. But with much of the roster returning from a team that made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 23 years and won its first tournament game in 33 years, coach Kim Rosamond can build on this season’s momentum.

Meanwhile, the Hoosiers showed their expansive depth and how solid this overall defense can play in Holmes’ absence. While the extra rest may keep Holmes healthier in the long run, Indiana needs its best player to score points, grab rebounds and wreak havoc in the post if it hopes to win a national championship.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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