She did it again.
With a post feed to Mackenzie Holmes in the waning minutes of Wednesday’s game against Penn State, Grace Berger furthered her reputation as a stat sheet stuffer. Simply put, she’s a triple-double machine.
Berger notched her third triple-double of the season — and second against Penn State — in the Hoosiers’ 90-65 win over the Nittany Lions, logging 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as No. 15 IU won its third straight game and seventh contest in its last eight tries.
With Berger needing just one more dish, IU coach Teri Moren ran the same play on back-to-back trips down the floor. The first time, Berger simply ran downhill to the basket and drew contact on her way up. Holmes had been standing just off the right block, but Berger saw a lane and kept it herself.
The second time, Berger was quick to spot Holmes, feeding the IU big for the assist that now gives her two more triple-doubles than anyone else in the nation. Berger is now tied with former Iowa guard Samantha Logic for the most triple-doubles by a Big Ten player in a single season.
“That is pretty special,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “We knew over there on the sideline that she needed two assists to get it, so we were trying like crazy to put her in a situation where she could feed Mack and we pulled it off. Happy that we could make that happen for a kid that works her rear end off and is a high-level player.”
For her part, Holmes finished with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Ali Patberg added 16 points and eight rebounds, and Aleksa Gulbe tallied 16 points and finished as a plus-35 for the Hoosiers.
To get the win, it took a better second-half defensive effort after Penn State shot 50% from the field and scored 24 points in the paint over the first two quarters. By the intermission, the Lions led 40-39.
But Indiana started the third quarter on a 12-0 run, stretched its lead to as many as 14 points during the period and ended the frame having outscored Penn State 26-11. From there, the Hoosiers never looked back.
“It was a good win and a good second half for us today,” Moren said. “We were just in there talking as a staff and we thought in the first half that the game started at four instead of three, and that was a little disappointing. Defensively we were not very good. Offensively, we were scoring and that wasn’t the problem. It was just us guarding. We had a few miscommunications on some things we were trying to do on switching. We didn’t talk well enough and communicate as well as we needed to so we gave up some shots. But give Penn State credit. They are playing with energy. They are a confident team right now. They want to play fast. I thought the difference between the first and the second half was we guarded better and then we pushed the pace.”
Indiana finished the game shooting 51.5% from the field, the team’s third straight game making more than 50% of its shots. Nicole Cardaño-Hillary tallied nine points, dished five assists and recorded four steals, and with Kiandra Browne unavailable, Danielle Patterson saw the floor for 11 minutes posted three boards and two points.