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Recap: New members of No. 12 Indiana’s core step up in win over No. 11 Tennessee

The Indiana Hoosiers got key contributions from more than just Grace Berger and Mackenzie Holmes in Monday night’s triumph over the Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel
Tennessee couldn’t get past Sara Scalia (jersey #14) and the Hoosiers.
Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers had a strong first half and balanced scoring and avoided a fourth-quarter scare in their 79-67 road victory over the Jordan Horston-less No. 11 Tennessee Lady Volunteers Monday night at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Lady Vols cut their deficit to four with 7:05 remaining on a 3-point play by former Missouri State Lady Bear Jasmine Franklin, but they would get no closer the rest of the way. A 6-0 Indiana run from 5:34 in the fourth to 2:50 in the fourth brought the Hoosiers’ lead to 12 and made things desperate for Tennessee, which never got back within single digits.

Indiana (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) led by as much as 13 in the first half and 40-29 at the break. The team’s two biggest stars, fifth-year Grace Berger and senior Mackenzie Holmes, both had double-doubles — Berger with 13 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals and Holmes with 16 points and 10 boards.

Those two are the familiar faces who helped the Hoosiers to the past two Sweet Sixteens and the 2021 Elite Eight. However, with Ali Patberg, Aleksa Gulbe and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary no longer on the team, a lot of new faces need to step up and they did so on Monday to allow the team to claim a quality win.

Last year’s sixth-leading scorer, Chloe Moore-McNeil demonstrated the larger role she is capable of playing this year with 15 points, including a team-high three treys, and five assists. Oregon transfer Sydney Parrish added 13 points, five assists and two steals off the bench and Minnesota transfer Sara Scalia rounded out the team’s double-figure scorers with 16 points.

Tennessee fell to 1-2 (0-0 SEC) after coming into the season as the No. 5 team in the country. It started off with a brutal schedule, going to No. 8 Ohio State (then No. 14) in its opener. The Lady Vols turned the ball over 29 times in that game, which they also lost by 12 despite Horston’s 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Horston was unable to play on Monday due to a “left lower extremity injury.”

Horston certainly could have made a big impact on the game. Instead, the Lady Vols relied on the play of Scalia’s former Minnesota teammate Jasmine Powell and Rickea Jackson. Powell is only 5-foot-6 but led the team with 10 rebounds to go along with 16 points and four helpers. Meanwhile, Jackson, a Mississippi State transfer, improved upon her nine points in the opener with 24 points in Tennessee’s win over UMass last Thursday and 17 points on Monday to go along with six boards and four assists. She is expected to be a star player for the Lady Vols and is No. 3 in ESPN’s mock for the 2023 WNBA Draft.

Fourth-year Lady Vol Tamari Key rounded out the team’s double-figure scorers with 14 points, but was held without a block for the second time this season. She had three blocks against UMass and was third in the country with 3.5 per contest last year.

Field goal percentages for the teams were similar and Tennessee had the edge in 3-point percentage. However, it missed eight of its 22 free throws. Making all of those would have made it a more manageable deficit down the stretch. Indiana won fast break points 21-2.