The college basketball season is just a few weeks away and with that, new stars will emerge, but old stars will remain. That includes one Indiana women’s basketball player.
Mackenzie Holmes has already had a terrific career, headlined by All-American honors and a Big Ten Title. But, when she announced she would be retuning for her fifth season, expectations for her and the Indiana program skyrocketed.
Holmes averaged 22.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season, but dealt with some injuries that kept her from being 100 percent late in the year. Now, fully healthy, she’s back and ready to lead Indiana back to a Sweet Sixteen … and further.
She’s clearly one of the top players in the country and that was shown more when she was named as one of the ‘Elite 11’ women’s college basketball stars from 247Sports.
“Holmes has perhaps the least amount of fanfare of any returning First-Team All American in college history. She seems to prefer it that way,” 247Sports writer Brandon Clay wrote. “Holmes had a monster season in 2022-23, finishing with 22.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. She is the preseason favorite to win Big 10 Player of the Year again in 2023-24.”
Indiana is coming off of a disappointing loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Miami. It was after the Hoosiers secured the first one-seed in the NCAA Tournament in program history.
That loss is fuel to the fire this year for Indiana.
Holmes will be leading that, both with her play and leadership.
“I mean, she is an All-American, so it’s pretty fun to play with an All-American, and she’s just one of the hardest workers I’ve ever played with and been around,” Indiana forward Sydney Parrish said of Holmes. “She’s always in the gym, whether that’s extra conditioning, extra lifting, extra workouts, making sure her body is healthy, being in the training room. She definitely is a very, very special player, and I’m just really excited to see how she plays this year with us. We couldn’t be more grateful to have her on the court with us for another year, so thank you, Mackenzie, for coming back.”
Mackenzie Holmes has the chance to become the leading scorer in Indiana women’s basketball program history.
“Mack has been such a great story in terms of when she came in here and couldn’t give anybody eye contact and she was very shy and timid, and I think it wasn’t until halfway through Big Ten season her freshman year where she started becoming a little bit, not as confident as she is, but a little bit more confident that she could play at this level,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said this fall. “I don’t know in her wildest dreams if she ever thought she could become the All-American that she’s become here, but Syd hit it on the head: You only do that one way and that’s to get in here and do your work every single day.
“She and Coach Rhet have continued to — every day, days off, there’s no such thing for Mackenzie. She should be really proud of herself. I know I’m extremely proud of her, not for the player that she’s become, for the person that she’s become, and how she’s gone about her work. She’s a pure example of there’s no secret sauce to any of it. It’s what your habits are every single day.
“I think her legacy will be one that Grace Berger left us. How you build this is by coming in and wanting to do the work, wanting to be passionate about the work, wanting to be passionate about this place in helping us be successful, and whatever that looks like, whatever it takes, they’ll do. She has a chance to become the all-time leading scorer. Nobody is going to be cheering for her harder than I will be.”
The Indiana women’s basketball program opens its season against Eastern Illinois on November 9.
SEE ALSO: ‘I don’t think we’re over it’: Indiana women’s basketball using NCAA Tournament loss as fuel for strong 2023-24 season
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