As a freshman last year at Indiana University, Mackenzie Holmes set a school record by hitting 63.4 percent of her shots for the women’s basketball team.
She apparently wants to break that record again.
Holmes, the former Gorham High star, made all 13 of her shot attempts in Indiana’s season-opening 100-51 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 25. The 6-foot-3 forward finished with a career-high 26 points in her third career start. She also had eight rebounds, seven blocked shots and two steals.
It was a command performance that may just be a preview of what’s to come.
Holmes spent the offseason working on her skills and remaking her body – she’s lost about 20 pounds since the start of her freshman year – to the point where she can now take a larger role for the 13th-ranked Hoosiers.
Indiana Coach Teri Moren is certainly high on Holmes, especially her work ethic.
“Mac has always been about the extra and that’s one of the things that we appreciate about her,” she said. “She’s going to continue to get better and you’re going to see her game grow into being one of the best, if not the best, low block post players in the Big Ten.”
Holmes takes such accolades in stride. She’s just happy to be playing, especially during a coronavirus pandemic that has made everything more challenging.
“We know every day together as team, especially in these times, is a great day,” she said in a Zoom conference with reporters on Wednesday. “When we played last Wednesday, we all had a lot of fun being on the court together.”
Holmes has always had talent – she was the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Gorham and last year was named to the Big Ten all-freshman team after averaging 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds – and a strong work ethic. And while at home in Maine during the spring, she decided to change her body.
“I feel like I had so much time in quarantine to think about everything and reflect over the past year and I decided it was something I needed to do for myself,” she said. “It wasn’t something that was super difficult … I watched what I was eating, put the right things in my body, and was working out. I gradually just lost weight.”
When she returned to Bloomington, Indiana, to resume classes and practices, Holmes contacted the team’s strength coach (Kevin Konopasek) and nutritionist (Isaac Hicks) and set up a plan to continue becoming more fit. Konapasek gave her exercises designed to help her basketball skills; Hicks set up a meal plan.
Holmes no longer eats processed foods and limits her intake of pasta