Mackenzie Holmes makes history as Indiana dominates Purdue 95-62

  • 02/12/2024 8:01 am in

First, water was dumped on her head and then it was confetti. The Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall floor wasn’t the cleanest after Indiana’s game on Sunday, but it didn’t matter. History had just happened on that hardwood.

Mackenzie Holmes, who was already all over Indiana’s record books, had done it. She was the program’s new all-time leading scorer, with 2,365 points. Celebrations were allowed and encouraged. The court could be cleaned up after.

Everyone knew the stakes of Sunday’s game against the Boilermakers. Of course, Indiana wanted to sweep its in-state rival and stay undefeated at home. But Holmes was only 17 points away from making history, and that was all anyone was talking about.

Everyone except for a few people: Holmes herself and Teri Moren.

“We haven’t talked about it once, her and I,” Holmes said. “I think she knows that wasn’t my main focus, it never was my main focus.”

Holmes didn’t return to Indiana for her fifth year to become the all-time leading scorer. She came to win more basketball games. Her main goal Sunday afternoon was to sweep Purdue for her career. The Hoosiers’ 95-62 victory meant she did just that.

“This rivalry means a lot to a lot of people, even people who don’t necessarily watch Indiana women’s basketball,” Holmes said. “They’re going to watch it just because of the rivalry.”

Realistically, however, many people also watched it because of Holmes. A large contingent of Indiana fans in Gorham, Maine, not to mention the rest of the country, were no doubt glued to their televisions because of Holmes and what she was about to do.

It was one of those things everything knew was bound to happen. Moren knew it, so she never needed to discuss it with her All-American.

“I knew it was just a matter of time,” Moren said. “The last thing that I want to do, ever, is put pressure on any of our players. I want them to always go out and believe and have confidence and play freely and not do anything different.”

It comes as no surprise that Holmes’ game was quintessential “her.” With the exception of three made free throws and one short-range jumper, all her points came from quick-moving layups in the post. Holmes fought for layups and ran up and down the court like always.

It was like any other game for her. It wasn’t, though, and the rest of her team was more than happy to turn it into the celebration it should be. The Hoosiers’ practice players brought out confetti poppers. Sydney Parrish led the cheering off the bench and Chloe Moore-McNeil was among the first to congratulate her teammate on the floor after her historic bucket.

While some at Assembly Hall had some nerves about Holmes’ hitting the 17-point mark Sunday afternoon — like her brother Cam, who traveled from Illinois to witness his little sister make history — Moore-McNeil had no concerns whatsoever.

“I wasn’t nervous at all,” Moore-McNeil said. “Her talent, she’s an All-American. She amazes me every time I step out on the court with her.”

Indiana’s coaches had similar mindsets, knowing that if they ran the same plays they had been running for years, Holmes would get there. That’s why, when Holmes was two points away from setting the record, Moren chose to run the ball through Yarden Garzon.

“We were going to get it one way or another,” Moren said. “But I felt very confident that if we could get Yarden the ball, Yarden would find her. Those are two workout partners that train together and have worked together.”

Indiana’s win over Purdue Sunday was the Hoosiers’ 11th straight win over the Boilermakers and their 20th win, marking the program’s ninth straight 20-win season. But that’s not why the game will go down as one of the most memorable and noteworthy games in program history.

February 11, 2024 will be known as the day Holmes solidified herself as one of the best Hoosiers who will ever come through Bloomington. That date will be on the commemorative ball she’ll receive and that’s why Sunday meant so much to the program and its fans.

“I’m just extremely thankful,” Holmes said. “It’s just a really special thing for me to wear Indiana across my chest every single day and play in Assembly Hall. It’s been one of the greatest blessings in my life.”

(Photo credit: IU Athletics)

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