Indiana beats Tennessee Tech with Mackenzie Holmes on the side

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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 as she 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 in case of an emergency and she’s optimistic the senior can play in the second round on Monday, when the Hoosiers chase their third straight Sweet 16 appearance.

“[Holmes] was limited all 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 and led Tennessee Tech (23-10), which had won the previous eight games.

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

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

Tennessee Tech never came within single digits again.

Whether it was the fatigue of playing seven games in 23 days, the 36½ hour turnaround after their victory over Monmouth or simply the difference in talent, the Golden Eagles’ remarkable run came to an uncomplicated 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 on this season’s momentum.

Meanwhile, the Hoosiers showed their extensive 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 at the post if it hopes to win a national championship.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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