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.
All-American center Mackenzie Holmes cheered on her Indiana teammates from the bench while resting 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) faces 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 in case of emergency and she’s optimistic the senior will be able to play in Monday’s second-round game, when the Hoosiers will be chasing their third-straight Sweet 16 appearance.
“[Holmes] was limited throughout the week, available if needed [today], and then very optimistic, feel 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 finishing the first quarter tied at 18, the Golden Eagles took a 22-20 lead on Anna Walker‘s layup with 6:53 to go.
Then the Hoosiers took their cue. Meister tied the score 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 game win over Monmouth or simply the disparity in talent, the Golden Eagles’ remarkable run came to an unceremonious end. But with much of the roster back 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 off the momentum of this season.
Meanwhile, the Hoosiers showed their expansive depth and just how solid this overall defense can play in Holmes’ absence. While the additional rest may keep Holmes healthier over the long haul, Indiana needs its best player scoring points, grabbing rebounds and creating havoc in the post if it hopes to win a national championship.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.