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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

Grace Berger jump starts No. 10 IU to second half comeback over Iowa


The game was unpredictable from the start. The No. 10 Hoosiers, up by two after the first quarter, were down by five at halftime to the Iowa Hawkeyes. It was anyone's game to take, but it was junior guard Grace Berger that sparked IU’s second half comeback to win 89-80 over Iowa.

The first quarter was a back and forth battle for the lead with IU finding their points down low from sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes, while Iowa shot 40% from the 3-point line. 

The Hawkeyes pulled away in the second quarter as they continued to expand on their 3-point shooting, with IU allowing Iowa to shoot 100% from 3-point range. 

Head coach Teri Moren said that when facing a team like Iowa, there is no opportunity to relax.

“Iowa’s energy was better in the first half,” Moren said. “They just seemed to want the game a little bit more.” 

The Hoosiers often ran down the shot clock in the first half by playing around with perimeter passing, forcing difficult or rushed shots. Berger seemed weary about driving to the basket since many set picks did not slow down Iowa’s defense, and Holmes was only able to add four points to IU’s score. However, any hesitations that IU had in the first half were quashed in the third quarter.. 

Moren said her team was able to make the needed adjustments to dig their heels into the ground. That mentality started with Berger. Berger picked up IU’s pace by making snappy charges to the basket, sinking rolling jumpers, and making a deep floater to bring Iowa’s lead down to one. Berger’s third quarter efforts were a testament to her exceptional ball and decision making skills, Moren said. 

“We were talking at halftime that we have been in these situations countless times before,” Berger said. “So nothing can really phase us. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. We just keep grinding it out and believing in our game plan.”

Berger put up the most points in the third quarter with 8, and tied junior forward Aleksa Gulbe with 4 rebounds. 

It was after Berger crept in on the Hawkeyes’ lead that Holmes locked in on defense.  Holmes shut down Iowa junior forward Monika Czinano, forcing Iowa’s second best shooter to miss three consecutive post attempts. 

While the effort began with Berger, four out of the five IU starters racked up double digit points, three of them tying for the top. Berger, Holmes and senior guard Ali Patberg led with 22 points, while Holmes also added 11 rebounds, giving her a double-double. Senior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary followed with 13 points despite running into foul trouble in the first quarter. 

“We feel like we are playing our best individually and as a team,” Berger said. “We are kind of in a rhythm right now. We are heading into the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament really confident and expecting to make a big run.”

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