BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)Mackenzie Holmes and Indiana put Southern Illinois away with a fast start.
The No. 8 Hoosiers got exactly what they wanted.
Holmes and Grace Berger each scored 18 points to lead Indiana to a 70-37 victory over Southern Illinois on Thursday.
The Hoosiers (10-2) got off to a sluggish start during Sunday’s 67-57 victory over Western Michigan, leading 15-13 late in the first quarter. They had no such issues with the Salukis, jumping to a 17-4 lead during a dominant first half.
”One thing we wanted to focus on was not coming out flat,” Holmes said. ”We wanted to come out strong and keep our foot on the pedal for 40 minutes. I thought we did a great job doing that.”
Holmes went 8 for 12 from the field. She also had a team-high seven rebounds.
”We weren’t complacent and we improved from the Western Michigan game, which is what we wanted to see,” Holmes said. ”I thought it was good intensity on both ends of the ball.”
Nicole Cardano-Hillary had 11 points, four assists and four rebounds for Indiana.
Payton McCallister led Southern Illinois with 10 points, but Makenzie Silvey was limited to nine points on 4-of-15 shooting. Silvey was named Missouri Valley Conference player of the week after she averaged 21.7 points in three games last week.
The Hoosiers shot 52.7% from the field, compared to 27.3% for the Salukis (5-5). Indiana also enjoyed a 37-33 rebounding edge.
”We pride ourselves on being sound defensively,” Hoosiers coach Teri Moren said.
Moren was especially pleased with Ali Patberg’s defense on Silvey.
”Ali has the assignment of guarding the best perimeter player,” Moren said. ”When she came out, one of the first things out of our mouths was what a great job she did defensively on that young lady. Nothing was easy for (Silvey) and that was the goal.”
Indiana led 38-8 at halftime. The Salukis went 4 for 27 from the field over the first two quarters.
Indiana scored the final 15 points of the second quarter as Southern Illinois went scoreless for nearly 7 minutes.
Southern Illinois coach Cindy Stein said her team didn’t get off to the start it wanted.
”But being in this environment was invaluable,” Stein said. ”What a great crowd. But we got in here and didn’t have the best timing on our openings and our entries. They put outstanding pressure on the ball. Those things happen. We had some good looks and they didn’t go down, so we had to just keep battling. It got a little out of hand, so we just worked on what we need to work on: spacing, the press, trying to get some kids in the game and stuff like that.”
Southern Illinois: The Salukis were attempting to win two games over Big Ten opponents for the first time since the 1992-93 season when they had victories over Illinois and Wisconsin. Southern Illinois beat visiting Illinois 66-51 on Sunday. This was the final nonconference games for the Salukis.
Indiana: This was the final nonconference game for the Hoosiers, who likely will stay in the top 10 after winning its only game of the week. Tuesday’s home game with Wright State was canceled due to COVID-19 issues with Wright State. The game will not be made up. The Hoosiers won their first two Big Ten games.
STAT OF THE DAY
The Hoosiers held a 46-16 edge on points in the paint.
Southern Illinois: The Salukis played the Hoosiers for the first time since 2006. Southern Illinois is now winless in six trips to Indiana.
Indiana: The Hoosiers finished with an 8-2 nonconference record for their 10th consecutive season with a winning nonconference record.
Southern Illinois: Hosts Valparaiso on Dec. 31.
Indiana: Returns to Big Ten action at Rutgers on Dec. 30.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25