UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Thursday night, the Hoosiers defeated Penn State 67-58 for its first conference road win of the season improving their record to a 10-0 tying Indiana head coach Teri Moren's best start.
Indiana was led by senior forward Mackenzie Holmes who posted her third double-double of the season off an 18-point, 10-rebound evening followed by junior guard Sydney Parrish who matched Holmes at 18.
As the team's leading scorer and force in the paint, Holmes was a target for the Nittany Lions' defense all night long.
"I think a lot of teams are going to hone in on Mack, double team on her when they can, but as a guard that means we need to be more aggressive," junior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil said.
"We can still get it into her. That just means we got to move without the ball, cut without the ball."
Moore-McNeil said the team prepared for the press in practice but weren't doing well at sticking to the scouting report in the first half. The Hoosiers made too many plays they didn't need to make, she said. This led Indiana to turn the ball over 17 times.
"Too many turnovers," Moren said. "I thought that's what made us sluggish, stagnant."
In the first quarter, the Hoosiers led by eight points but went numb as it scored two more points with a small 16-15 lead in the frame.
The lackluster offense rolled into the second quarter until Parrish and Holmes made back-to-back baskets notching up the game at 20. The Nittany Lions responded and led by five points on two occasions.
Senior guard Sara Scalia drove to the rim for the final Hoosier possession of the half, but it wouldn't be enough to beat Penn State in the first half as Indiana fell behind 29-26.
"Well, they're not always pretty," Moren said. "We've had a few of those. I give Penn State credit. They came out and I thought won the first half, but I thought our guys turned around in the second half and responded in the right kind of way."
The Hoosiers got cooking in the third frame outscoring Penn State 22-11. Parrish and Moore-McNeil both totaled seven points in the period while Holmes figured out the Nittany Lions' scrappy defensive pressures.
"Mack is still learning how to play through the doubles and the triples and sometimes there being four people around her, and she's doing a much better job," Moren said.
Indiana also stayed consistent on the boards throughout the game out-rebounding Penn State 37-31.
"It's something we've emphasized the last couple of days," Moren said. "This is an area where we've got to really improve."
In the final frame, Indiana at one point took hold of a 15-point lead while Penn State cut the deficit back down to seven. Parrish soon finished off the scoring with a pair of free throws to secure the win.
Moren said tonight was a night where the team needed senior guard Grace Berger, who is out indefinitely with a right knee injury. Indiana needed Berger's calm composure when the Hoosiers' offense was sped up. Although Moren believes many of Indiana's mistakes were self-inflicted, the bright spot was Moore-McNeil.
"I thought tonight she did another really great job, and it might not be on the offensive side as it was she had the task of guarding (Makenna) Marisa for almost the entire game," Moren said.
Marisa, the Nittany Lions' leading scorer, was limited to 12 points as her team shot 35.9 percent from the floor compared to Indiana's 52.9 percent in its seventh game of shooting 50 percent or better.
"Now we can get back to Bloomington and kind of catch our breathe," Moren said. "We're a little bit dinged up ."
The Hoosiers will resume non-conference play on Dec. 18 versus Morehead State at 2 p.m. ET inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
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