No. 8 Indiana women’s basketball senior guard Grace Berger made history in the team’s season-opening 86-63 win against Butler Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Berger became the 29th player in team history to score 1,000 career points after knocking down a jump shot in the first quarter.
Berger shot 9-15 from the field for 18 points in the first game of her senior season while putting her name in the record books alongside program legends like Tyra Buss, Denise Jackson and current graduate student guard Ali Patberg.
Berger said her ability to score the basketball is credited to the chemistry she built up with her teammates over the years to help the team succeed.
“I think the great thing about having players that have played with each other for three or four years is that we know where each of us want to get the ball and where our strengths are,” Berger said. “It's just really easy to play off of one another. Because like I said, we have been doing it for so many years, and we do it every day in practice.”
Berger’s 999th and 1,000th points came on a mid-range jump shot, a signature move from her arsenal. After three years of scoring so many points from the mid-range, it was a fitting way for Berger to join the club.
The Hoosiers were 11-20 from the midrange in the game, including a 7-12 performance from Berger.
The accomplishment was not surprising to head coach Teri Moren, given her track record for the program.
“I don’t know that any of us are surprised, she’s a kid that has just put in the work and has become an extraordinary player,” Moren said. “She’s meant just as much as Ali Patberg, and Brenna Wise, and Mackenzie Holmes and all of these kids.”
Moren said Berger was among the most important players during her tenure, alongside other 1,000-point scorers like Buss, Indiana’s all-time leading scorer. Buss scored 2,364 points during her Indiana career from 2014 through 2018.
Moren was brief in her ultimate analysis of Berger’s outing, unsurprisingly happy with her senior guard’s season-opening performance.
“Grace Berger is Grace Berger,” Moren said.
With program history made and win number one in the books, Indiana heads back home to Bloomington ahead of Sunday’s contest with rival No. 13 University of Kentucky at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Before they take on the Wildcats Sunday afternoon, Berger and company are looking to improve on the fundamentals ahead of a nationally-ranked matchup.
“It's those little things, like free throws that are free shots really, that separates the good teams from the great teams,” Berger said. “Maybe that separates us from being in the Elite Eight or being in the Final Four, so it's definitely been an emphasis in practice, just the little things.”