While players like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese grab headlines, Indiana star Mackenzie Holmes keeps quietly making her case for National Player of the Year.
Against No. 5 Iowa on Thursday, Holmes had 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting and six rebounds. She also held Iowa center Monika Czinano — who entered the game averaging 18.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game — to six points, seven rebounds and four turnovers. Czinano fouled out in the fourth quarter while trying to guard Holmes.
No. 2 Indiana held on to beat the Hawkeyes 87-78 despite Clark’s 35 points.
“I knew the task at hand, and I know the type of player Czinano is going into the game,” Holmes said. “So I really just tried to have a defensive mindset going into this game, knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy, but just try to be myself. Not do anything special, out of the ordinary.”
Grace Berger and Mackenzie Holmes were on FIRE against No. 5 Iowa 🔥 @IndianaWBB pic.twitter.com/uRQvgLMMpO— espnW (@espnW) February 10, 2023
Grace Berger and Mackenzie Holmes were on FIRE against No. 5 Iowa 🔥 @IndianaWBB pic.twitter.com/uRQvgLMMpO
“You can look at the stats,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “But all you got to do is watch her. She’s pretty phenomenal.”
Holmes’ performance on Thursday was nothing new: The senior forward is averaging 22.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. She’s also shooting 69 percent from the field.
Her consistency has been key, especially as Indiana dealt with the absence of Grace Berger for six weeks this season. Since returning from a knee injury, Berger has helped the Hoosiers stay atop a competitive Big Ten conference, adding 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Thursday’s win.
Holmes expressed her support for Berger in response to a post from the NCAA March Madness account on Twitter after the game.
“She’s very confident, you know?” Moren said of Holmes. “She’s confident in herself. She’s confident in her teammates. She works at her game every day before practice. She’s healthy. She’s a year smarter than she was a year ago in terms of the game and managing her game and what she had inside of every game from a scoring perspective.”