After a long wait, junior guard Danielle Patterson will finally get the chance to suit up for the IU women’s basketball team this season.
Patterson transferred from the University of Notre Dame after her sophomore year season in 2018-19. She was forced to sit out of the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules.The 2020-21 season will be her first time stepping on the floor as a guard in the cream and crimson.
Patterson was already unable to play after transferring, but a cartilage defect in her left knee sent her to rehab for about a year limiting her participation. She was cleared for this season on Aug. 28.
Between transferring, her knee injury and a pandemic, Patterson has waited patiently for her chance to prove herself while at IU.
“I have waited awhile,” Patterson said during women’s basketball media day on Oct. 8. “I think it has made me not take the game for granted because you never know when it can be taken away from you.”
This season, Patterson hopes to bring versatility to her game as well as the team's. She said she wants to bring a flow to the floor, get open looks to pass, charge the basket and be a playmaker.
“I don’t like to put myself in a box,” Patterson said. “I like to take what the defense is giving me. If I have an open look, do that. If I can get downhill and get to the basket or if I can make the extra pass and make my teammate better, that’s great.”
Senior guard Ali Patberg agreed that Patterson’s versatility with the ball and on the court will be a huge benefit to the team this season.
“She’s going to be a great addition to our team just because she is big, she can score, she can shoot threes, she can post up, she’s long, she’s athletic and she knows the game,” Patberg said. “She is going to be awesome for us.”
As a captain, Patberg has been welcoming of Patterson as she tries to integrate herself into the team.
Patberg is not the only teammate that is excited to play with Patterson.
Sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes said she believes Patterson will be an impressive addition. While in practice, Holmes said she’s noticed how fun Patterson is to play with and how positive of a leader she is becoming.
“She is a big time player, and I think she’s going to make a big impact for us on both ends of the floor,” Holmes said.
Despite all this praise, Patterson is still working her way back to being the same player she was at Notre Dame. She said she has given herself grace and doesn't believe getting frustrated with herself will help anything. Patterson said her focus is to continue to push herself each day while she gets back into playing shape.
“Although she looks good, she is still trying to get her feet wet and play with more rhythm,” head coach Teri Moren said. “She just wants to feel natural.”
Moren also said that Patterson, Patberg, and fellow junior guard Grace Berger will be a “big guard lineup.”
With the matchup challenges this big guard lineup can create for IU’s opponents, Patterson said she believes this team can be a Final Four team. However, they are taking it one practice at a time.
“Coach always talks about coming in every single day and just doing the work and doing the little things,” Patterson said. “Sometimes those are the little steps you have to take to get those bigger things.”