BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The stars showed up for No. 8 Indiana on Sunday.
Mackenzie Holmes scored a career-high 29 points and fellow preseason All-Big Ten selection Grace Berger had 19 as the Hoosiers pulled away from No. 13 Kentucky in the second half for an 88-67 victory.
Ali Patberg, a former Notre Dame player now in her seventh season of eligibility, added 16 for Indiana.
“I hope this comes out the right way, but I expect that from them,” coach Teri Moren said. “I know they’ve put in the work. I know and the staff knows they’re talented. It’s just making sure whether we’re play-calling over on the sideline or sometimes just allowing them to play, they’ll figure it out.”
Berger hit a half-court buzzer-beater that gave Indiana a 38-32 lead at halftime.
After Kentucky cut the lead to 48-46 with 5:44 remaining in the third quarter, the Hoosiers (2-0) went on a 7-0 run and never led by fewer than six points again.
Holmes, a junior, had 16 points in the second half. She finished 11 for 15 from the field and 6 for 6 from the foul line.
Nicole Cardaño-Hillary scored all 12 of her points after the break for Indiana.
Rhyne Howard scored 23 points for Kentucky (2-1).
“We wanted to come out and start hot and stay hot for four quarters, but when you’re playing a team like Kentucky, that’s not always going to happen,” Berger said. “We outlast a lot of teams, so I think that’s why we see in the late third and fourth quarter we kind of pull away.”
After missing her first six shots, Berger finished 6 for 16. She also had nine rebounds.
“I was obviously mad at myself because I was missing some shots I shouldn’t have been missing, but other than that I knew I didn’t really have a choice but to bounce back because I knew who we were facing today,” she said.
Indiana shot 54.2% from the field and was 6 for 11 on 3-pointers. Kentucky shot 41.5% overall, including 4 of 13 on 3s.
The game got physical and sloppy from the beginning, with the teams combining for 26 turnovers and 42 fouls.
“It’s hard, though, when there’s a lot of whistles,” Moren said. “It’s hard to get any momentum, it’s hard to get any pace. That was a little bit frustrating, and I think it was a little frustrating for Kentucky as well.”
Kentucky: The Wildcats had no answer for Holmes in the post all game. She often found herself unguarded beneath the basket.
Indiana: The Hoosiers beat Kentucky for the first time since Nov. 12, 2006, a span that included the teams going 14 years without playing each other. In last season’s matchup in Lexington, the Wildcats won 72-68 behind 22 points from Howard.