Indiana University Women’s Basketball beats Fairfield 89-56

BLOOOMINGTON, INDIANA – MARCH 23: Indiana Hoosiers forward Mackenzie Holmes (54) is fouled by Fairfield during an NCAA women’s basketball tournament game on March 23 , 2024 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. IU was leading 38-34 at the half. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

IU Women dance into second round of tournament with 89-56 win over Fairfield.

by Skip Daley, South Central Indiana News Network

Indiana has been here before, hosting a first round NCAA game. This would be their third go at it in as many years, and this one would have the same outcome . . . a victory in front of Hoosier Nation. 12,753 fans were at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall to check out March Madness and watch their Hoosier dance into Round 2.

The game started out very close, as the visiting Stags seemingly confused IU with their energy in the first half. But the energy was not sustainable, and Coach Moren found a way to capitalize on the size and abilities of her veteran team.

Indiana advances after the 89-56 final score to the second round to face the winner of the Oklahoma / Florida Gulf Coast game.

Indiana won the tip, but it was Fairfield who put up the first points, after a missed 3-point attempt from Sydney Parrish. Fairfield was hot from the perimeter, but Indiana was extremely successful in driving the low post. IU laid in all 5 of their opening made field goals.

The game looked pretty even from the onset, but with just less than 4 minutes to go in the opening quarter, Sophomore Guard Yardon Garzon drilled a triple from above the key and fellow Guard Sydney Parrish was fouled on the play. IU maintained possession and went up by 5, looking like they could pull away.

But the Stags had the energy to compete with IU, keeping it close after 10 minutes; Indiana was up 20-17.

Fairfield has an arsenal that can shoot the ball, and are quick in driving the lane. Senior Guard Janelle Brown is their leader, and demonstrated exactly how tough she plays in the first half of the game. Brown put up 12 in the first, and pulled down 5 of Fairfield’s 17 rebounds.

At the end of 20 minutes, Indiana was up 4, 38-34.

The Hoosiers found a way to use their height in the second half, dominating offensively by getting the ball inside and out to open up the perimeter game, and Graduate Guard Sara Scalia took full advantage. She added 18 points in the half before being sat with 5 minutes remaining in the game. She led all with 27 points, including 5 of 10 from beyond the arc and hitting all 4 free-throw attempts.

Scalia’s a block, steal, and ankle breaking move on Brown midway through the third half brought the Hall to its feet. And then with 4:20 left in the quarter, Scalia drilled a three and raised her hands in victory to electrify Hoosier Nation. That brought the Hoosiers to a 13-0 run and 16-point lead.

The remainder of the game would hold steadfast in the direction of Indiana. IU was able to get all 11 active players into the game, and each had a moment that pleased the crowd. By the final buzzer, IU would dance into the second round by a 33-point margin.

Other than Scalia, the Hoosiers had Chloe Moore-McNeil, Garzon, and Mackenzie Holmes in double figure scoring, each with 13. Collectively, IU shot 51% from the field, 77% from the stripe, and 38% from 3-point land. Indiana won the rebound battle, totaling 44 for the game.

Fairfield hit 38% of their shots and pulled down 29 rebounds.

Next up, Indiana will play Monday evening (TBD) at Assembly Hall in Round 2.

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