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Moore-McNeil triple-double sparks Indiana comeback over Michigan State

SIMON SKJODT ASSEMBLY HALL (IUSTV Sports) – Coming off of their third loss of the season in Columbus, No. 14 Indiana bounced back on Thursday with a high-paced win over Michigan State 94-91.

“Well, if you didn’t enjoy that, you’re not a basketball fan,” Teri Moren said after the game. 

This season has featured multiple historic individual performances, and Thursday was no different. With six seconds left on the clock, Chloe Moore-McNeil sunk two free throws to ice the game, and in the process recorded the fourth triple-double in program history. 

“They don’t make kids like Chloe anymore,” Moren said of Moore-McNeil’s path with the team. “She is the heart and soul.” 

Moore-McNeil joins former teammate Grace Berger as the only Hoosiers to record a triple-double. She finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high tying 11 assists.

“She’s just a product of the work she’s put in and that doesn’t happen overnight,” said Mackenzie Holmes. “Wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the last one she got.”

The first half featured two speeding offenses that seemed impossible to stop. By the first media timeout, the two sides were a combined 16-19 from the floor and 6-6 from deep. While both offenses were firing, it was Michigan State that pulled ahead leading by 10 at the half. 

Key to the Spartan lead was graduate guard Julia Ayrault, who led all scorers with 18 points by halftime. Ayrault was perfect from the field in the first half including four threes. She finished with a team-high 25. 

While the third quarter was the killer at Ohio State, on Thursday it was the start of a resurgence. Mackenzie Holmes scored ten in the quarter as Indiana chipped away at the deficit. With 28 points Holmes is now 16 points shy of Tyra Buss’ program scoring record. 

Yarden Garzon continued her clutch shooting knocking down 11 points in the fourth quarter alone, including a wide open midrange jumper with 20 seconds remaining to extend the lead to four and bring her total tally to 20. Indiana made shot after shot in the final quarter going 10-12 from the field.

“I’m really comfortable with my shot and I’m really confident in it. I know the coaches are too,” said Garzon.

“In a moment like that, where it is a ‘gut check’ time, you have to have some cajones. You’ve got to be able to step up and say ‘I’m gonna hit this shot for my team tonight,’” said Moren.

All five Indiana starters scored in double digits. In addition to Holmes, Moore-McNeil, and Garzon, Sara Scalia had 21, and Lexus Bargesser had 10 for the third time this season. Scalia knocked down five threes, including one with 6:11 left in the game which gave Indiana their first lead since the first quarter. All of Bargesser’s points came in the first half as she started 4-4 from the field.  

“In each portion of the game, whether it be first quarter, second quarter, there was a different person that stepped up. That’s what I was most impressed with,” said Holmes. 

Indiana remains perfect on their home court this season. They move to 19-3 on the season and 10-2 in Big Ten play. They will look to get the rivalry sweep over Purdue on Sunday at 2 PM Eastern at Assembly Hall.