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No. 5 Indiana women get past Cook and Illinois 65-61

Illinois guard Makira Cook (3) shoots over Indiana guard Chloe Moore-McNeil (22) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Bloomington, Ind., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Mackenzie Holmes scored 23 points, including a go-ahead layup with 37 seconds left, and No. 5 Indiana got past Illinois 65-61 in their Big Ten opener. Indiana improved to 9-0.

The Hoosiers hadn’t trailed in the second half of any game this season before going back and forth in the closing minutes with Illinois.

Makira Cook scored a career-high 33 points for the Illini, who are 7-2.

Illinois head coach Shauna Green sang Cook’s praises after the game.

“She was terrific, right? She had half our points,” Green said. “She was cramping up at the end. She was defending their point guard, you know, she had to facilitate for us as well.”

Illinois trailed by as many as 14 points late in the first quarter before rallying to take the lead several times in the second half.

Green was proud of her team’s performance.

“We’ll learn from it, but to come into this environment on the road in our first (conference) game, I’m really proud of our kids. I’m proud of our fight. I’m proud of our execution,” she said.

Next for Illinois is a home game against another Big Ten opponent, Rutgers, on Wednesday.

Illinois Newsroom’s Brian Moline contributed reporting to this story.

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