Don’t forget that Indiana Hoosier Sydney Parrish was a No. 8 Hoop Gurlz recruit and actually two spots ahead of UNC Tar Heel star Deja Kelly in the class of 2020. Parrish’s career at Oregon, where she was a part of a loaded No. 1 recruiting class, didn’t pan out with her as a star, but on Thursday night she had her coming out party as a member of the Hoosiers, scoring a season-high 24 points while starting in place of injured star Grace Berger, as No. 5 Indiana dominated No. 6 UNC 87-63 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana.
Parrish, whose performance was highlighted by a 14-point third quarter, received a standing ovation when she exited the game with 2:20 remaining. She was 4-of-7 from deep and 9-of-15 from the field with six rebounds and two steals. Teammate Mackenzie Holmes (five rebounds, three assists) ended up outscoring her by one thanks to a 10-point fourth quarter during which the game was never in jeopardy. But Parrish was the story, which is a good sign for a team that needs players besides Berger and Holmes stepping up if it wants to get to its first-ever Final Four.
The Hoosiers opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to go up 13. They would go on to lead by 13 twice more before going up 14, 15 and then finally 16 at the break. The Tar Heels were never able to make it close in the second half of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge showdown.
Parrish highlighted the 7-0 run with a three. Chloe Moore-McNeil (10 points, seven rebounds, nine assists) added a three in the frame and Sara Scalia (12 points, five rebounds) made her third trey of the contest with 2:51 to go before halftime. Indiana was 8-of-12 from distance in the first half; Scalia was 3-of-3.
Moore-McNeil had all of her 10 points, plus three rebounds, four assists and an emphatic block in the first half and the Hoosiers won the field goal percentage battle 58.1 to 32.4.
Parrish scored 14 of Indiana’s 23 third-quarter points and was 2-of-3 from distance in the frame. Holmes added six points and Yarden Garzon (nine points, seven rebounds, seven assists) scored the other three on a trey with four seconds remaining before the fourth that got the crowd going. Garzon’s three was the deciding bucket in terms of the Hoosiers winning the quarter, as they went up by 19 entering the final period.
A key play in the third came when Garzon made a behind-the-back pass to Holmes while the two were on opposite blocks. The pass was a little low and Holmes was barely able to grab it before it went out of bounds, but she turned it into an inside bucket that made it 57-40 Indiana at the 5:40 mark of the frame. The Hoosiers didn’t need that play to work out in order to win, but it was just fitting that it did on a night when not much went wrong for the home team.
Scalia improved to 4-of-4 from downtown 33 seconds into the fourth and Holmes added a 3-point play soon after to put the Hoosiers up 21. Twenty-four was Indiana’s largest lead. Scalia finished 4-of-7 from long range.
Indiana started down 7-0, but answered with a 13-0 run. Holmes started the run with a 3-point play followed by another two points for a 5-0 individual run. Henna Sandvik then made a three to give the Hoosiers an 8-7 lead before back-to-back turnovers by UNC were each followed by Indiana scores. A Parrish triple capped the run.
Scalia made two deep threes over the remainder of the opening frame, after which Indiana led 27-21.
Kennedy Todd-Williams posted 20 points in defeat, while Kelly, the Tar Heels’ leading scorer on the season, had 11 points and seven assists and Alyssa Ustby had eight points and eight boards.
Kelly open the contest with a triple, which was followed by a Todd-Williams triple, but Kelly was held to three points in the first half.
Berger is day-to-day with a knee injury.