BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The No. 6 North Carolina women’s basketball team (6-1) fell to No. 5 Indiana (8-0), 87-63, in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Thursday evening.
UNC jumped out to a 6-0 lead after junior guards Deja Kelly and Kennedy Todd-Williams sank 3-pointers, but the Tar Heels quickly found themselves in an uphill battle when the Hoosiers caught fire from deep.
Indiana guard Sara Scalia buried two 27-foot 3-pointers while forward Mackenzie Holmes bullied her way inside for four first-half field goals, drawing fouls from North Carolina frontcourt players Teonni Key and Anya Poole in the process.
The Tar Heels found some rhythm with high-low action between Key and junior forward Alyssa Ustby, but for every rare success on offense, Indiana answered with a quick 3-pointer. Indiana guard Chloe Moore-McNeil waved off a screen to isolate UNC redshirt senior guard Eva Hodgson on the right wing and drilled a stepback triple.
A few plays later, with a premier perimeter defender in Todd-Williams in pursuit, Scalia slipped free, caught the ball and created separation with a stepback three. Thanks to Indiana’s 8-12 clip from downtown, the Hoosiers held a firm 49-33 lead at halftime.
After Todd-Williams air-balled a three pointer in the third quarter, she responded by connecting from downtown on her next two attempts. Kelly kept attacking the basket in an effort to will the Tar Heels within single digits, getting to the line and scoring eight points in the third quarter.
However, Indiana guard Sydney Parrish soon took over. The junior Oregon transfer erupted for 14 third quarter points, including going 2-3 from downtown. Later down the stretch, Parrish curled around the right elbow with Todd-Williams draped all over her. Parrish pump faked a shot, causing Todd-Williams to leave her feet, then sank the mid-range jumper.
The onslaught only continued into the fourth quarter, as the lead ballooned to over 20 points. Holmes took over completely for Indiana and dropped 10 points, and the Tar Heels couldn’t buy a bucket against the Hoosiers’ energized defense.
Who stood out?
Todd-Williams led UNC in scoring with 20 points, including 4-6 on three pointers. Additionally, Kelly was an efficient floor general, finishing with 11 points, seven assists and just one turnover.
For Indiana, Holmes and Parrish dominated on offense. Holmes was efficient on the inside, going 10-17 on field goals. Parrish caught fire from deep, sinking 4-7 three pointers.
The Hoosiers backcourt also distributed the ball exceptionally well. First-year guard Yarden Garzon tallied seven assists and Moore-McNeil dished out nine of her own.
When was it decided?
The Hoosiers outscored the Tar Heels by 10 in the second quarter, distancing themselves with a comfortable lead heading into the third quarter. From there, Indiana never looked back, feeding off the energy home-court advantage provided in a top-ranked matchup.
With Parrish connecting on 3-pointers, post-ups and mid-range jumpers, coupled with Holmes' presence as an imposing interior force, the Tar Heels couldn’t contain the Hoosiers’ balanced scoring attack.
Why does it matter?
It’s the first loss of the season for the Tar Heels. After amassing impressive comeback wins over ranked teams Oregon and Iowa State en route to earning the Phil Knight Invitational tournament title, slow starts finally caught up to head coach Courtney Banghart’s veteran core.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels return to Carmichael Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 7 to face UNCW. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.