BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)Indiana was missing leading scorer Mackenzie Holmes and still found a way to beat Nebraska.
Grace Berger scored 22 points, helping the No. 6 Hoosiers survive a late push from Nebraska and held on for a 72-65 victory Thursday night.
”They didn’t flinch,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. ”They stepped up to the task at hand tonight in a big time kind of way. The response that we got from these guys after getting some news today that we weren’t expecting, give our kids a ton of credit.”
Holmes missed the matchup with a left knee injury, and Moren said she didn’t have a timeline for her return. Kiandra Browne had her first career start in Holmes’ place and had two points and five rebounds in 25 minutes.
”Kiandra coming in, rebounding and playing really great defense, taking a charge and just filling in nicely for Mackenzie, it just says a lot and it makes us really dangerous as we get into the postseason,” Berger said.
Aleksa Gulbe added 17 points and Nicole Cardano-Hillary scored 13 for the Hoosiers (13-2, 5-0 Big Ten), who are 5-0 in the conference for the first time.
Alexis Markowski led Nebraska (13-3, 2-3) in scoring with 17 points and Jaz Shelley added 15.
Nebraska, which came into the game shooting 36% from 3-point range, made 6 of 21 shots from beyond the arc. The Cornhuskers also shot 40% from the floor and took advantage of the Hoosiers’ lack of size, outrebounding them 41-35.
Indiana shot 42.4% from the field and made 6 of 18 from 3-point range.
”There’s no doubt that based on the number by your name, that we’re gonna get everybody’s best,” Moren said. ”We just expect that. But these kids are just built different. They’re so, so stinking competitive.”
Indiana was outscored 22-15 in the final quarter.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers fell to 2-3 in conference play and narrowly missed upsetting its second ranked team in three games after beating Michigan on Jan. 4.
Indiana: Holmes’ absence highlighted Indiana’s lack of depth. None of the Hoosiers’ bench players are averaging more than 3.4 points per game and they only had 8 points off the bench Thursday, all from Chloe Moore-McNeil.
After Browne was subbed out halfway through the first quarter with Indiana trailing 10-9, the Hoosiers went on a minute-long run that included eight unanswered points, three steals and two Nebraska turnovers. They never trailed again.
Indiana remained steady in the AP Poll heading into this week. It has two games against unranked Big Ten opponents and beating Nebraska will help the Hoosiers maintain their ranking.
Nebraska: Stays on the road to play Iowa for the second time in three games Sunday.
Indiana: Plays in-state rival Purdue in West Lafayette on Sunday.
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