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Holmes spurs late rally that sends Indiana past Oklahoma

Mackenzie Holmes Indiana Mackenzie Holmes - The Canadian Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- — Mackenzie Holmes scored 29 points, including six in a row, to give fourth-seeded Indiana a late lead Monday night as the Hoosiers rallied past fifth-seeded Oklahoma 75-68 in the second round of March Madness.

Sydney Parrish added 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Hoosiers (26-6), who advanced to their second Sweet 16 in three years and now face undefeated South Carolina in Albany, New York.

Indiana's players celebrated by racing into the student section and up the steps at Assembly Hall as music blared and fans pumped their hands in the air,

Big 12 Player of the Year Skylar Vann led the Sooners (23-10) with 20 points and eight rebounds. Aubrey Joens had 16 points for Oklahoma, which walked off the floor dejectedly after a fourth consecutive second-round loss in the NCAA Tournament.

The more than 12,000 fans in Assembly Hall roared loudly in the final minutes — and after the final buzzer — as the Hoosiers seized control to avoid a repeat of last March's shocking second-round loss to Miami.

But for much of the night, it looked like the Hoosiers might be staring at the sequel.

Again, they ran into a lower-seeded team that appeared athletic and more physical. Again, they struggled to get open shots or to stay in front of the Sooners on defense.

This time, though, they fought back and surged ahead thanks largely to Holmes, Indiana's career scoring leader and a two-time All-American, despite the offense having a sub-par night. The nation's top field goal and 3-point shooting team. Indiana was just 38.8% from the field and 18.8 percent from beyond the arc in a back-and-forth game that wasn't settled in the waning minutes.

The Hoosiers finally tied the score on Holmes' layup to open the fourth. She inadvertently hit Vann with an elbow in the nose on the play. From that point, the teams were within one possession of each other until Holmes scored six straight, including a layup with 1:18 left to give the Hoosiers a 66-64 lead.

An Oklahoma turnover on the ensuing possession led to a 10-footer from Yarden Garzon, Holmes came up with a steal and the Hoosiers closed it out at the free-throw line.


Oklahoma: The Sooners have been to 22 NCAA Tournaments since the turn of the century but amazingly, have not been to a Sweet 16 since 2009.

Indiana: The Hoosiers spent all season trying to right the disappointment from that second-round exit in Grace Berger's career finale. It looked like it might happen again, but they dug deep late and pulled this one out — and now face a more daunting test later this week.


While Indiana tries to end No. 1 South Carolina's perfect season in Albany, the New York, the Sooners are again heading home.


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