No. 6 Indiana women’s basketball player fends off late push to outplay No. 13 Michigan 92-83

Indiana women’s basketball No. 6 looked like it could crack after nasty problems with its stars and a late push in a noisy street environment. However, the Hoosiers’ experience and composure showed to guide them down the track. Indiana eluded Ann Arbor with a 92-83 win over No. 13 Michigan and improved to 18-1 to set the program’s record for its best start to the season.

The Hoosiers started hot. Older forward Mackenzie Holmes found a groove around the basket early and Indiana found open knives and distributed the ball like when grad guard Grace Berger made the quick break to find an open junior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil for an easy layup .

Michigan shot well early, making seven of his 14 shots in the first quarter, but was held to zero 3-point attempts during that period. Indiana, on the other hand, made 57.9% of his shots under frame, three of which came from deep. The result was a 26-16 lead for the Hoosiers in the first quarter.

Moore-McNeil found Holmes to start the second period and take a 12-point lead, but the Wolverines would not go down easily. After making a bucket and two free throws, Michigan drilled back-to-back threes — the game’s first two — to reduce the deficit to four.

Senior guard Sara Scalia scored 7 points in the remainder of the quarter and after some back and forth runs, the Hoosiers were able to hold a 10-point lead at halftime and lead 48-38.

Problems arose from half-time when first Holmes and later Berger each conceded their third foul. Indiana struggled to stay ahead of the Wolverines, who scored 10 of their first 14 points of the quarter from the charity streak.

However, Indiana continued to light it, going 7-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-4-of-three in the third frame. The Hoosiers extended their lead to as much as 17 points, but ultimately went into the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead.

Foul trouble continued in the fourth, most notably from Holmes, who canceled her fourth foul just 1:28 into the period. That sent them to the bench, and the Wolverines capitalized on this, cutting their deficit to single digits for the first time since the 2:01 mark in the second quarter.

Fifth-year guard Leigha Brown led Michigan to a close fight, and a 3-point shot by sophomore guard Leila Phelia at the 4:48 mark dropped the Hoosiers’ lead to 6 points. Indiana was teetering, Holmes was still on the bench and the Wolverines had all the momentum, but Berger took control of a situation she knew all too well.

The Star Graduate Guard hit their clutch turnaround jumper and then turned the baseline for a layup after a defensive stop to push Indiana’s lead back to 10 points. The Hoosiers veteran has been relied on countless times in times of crisis and, as so often before, she has delivered.

Berger’s buckets sparked a quick 7-1 run, and though Michigan cut Indiana’s lead to six with 38 seconds left, the Hoosiers made free throws down the stretch to seal the 93-82 win.

Michigan had held opponents at 60.4 points per game before Monday night, but an efficient night of shooting led to Indiana’s offensive explosion. The Hoosiers shot 33 of 64 from the field — 51.6% — including 9 of 18 from 3-point range and 17 of 24 from the free throw line.

Holmes hit her ninth double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds in just 29 minutes due to her nasty troubles. A total of six Hoosiers scored double digits.

Brown scored a career-high 31 points for Michigan despite the loss. The Wolverines’ scoring trio of Brown, Phelia and graduate forward Emily Kiser — who accounted for nearly two-thirds of Michigan’s points per game this season — collectively scored 67 of the team’s 83 points.

Indiana’s rebound played a crucial role. The Hoosiers grabbed 41 rebounds over the Wolverines’ 24, including 14 offensive rebounds for the winners. Freshman forward Lilly Meister grabbed six rebounds in 11 minutes and replaced Holmes at the post when she sat out with nasty problems.

Indiana’s streak of opponents in the rankings continues Thursday night. The Hoosiers meet the No. 2 state in Bloomington and have an opportunity to move their way to first place in the Big Ten on the line.

This story will be updated.

Follow reporters Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Sebree (@mattsebree) and columnist Matt Press (@MattPress23) for updates throughout the Indiana women’s basketball season.