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Three Things: Indiana Women’s Basketball defeats Michigan State 76-58

I want a Magic Johnson consolation tweet and I want it now

Indiana Hoosiers Mackenzie Holmes (right) celebrates after...
IU bench celebrates a CMM 3
Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Coming into yesterday’s matchup, you could probably argue that Indiana owed Michigan State one. Last Thursday the Spartans defeated Michigan 63-57. The result added a second blemish to UM’s conference record and propelled the Hoosiers into 1st-place in the Big Ten.

I’m sure IUWBB was appreciative of MSU’s efforts, but they didn’t let it affect their mindset. Instead, Indiana opted to thrash the Green and White 76-58, maintaining top-dog status with just five games remaining before the B1G tournament. Here’s three things:

Grace Berger

#34 in white is officially a “walking bucket”. Berger dropped a career-high 29 on the Spartans off 9-17 shooting from the field. She is IU’s most comfortable ball carrier and thrives in the mid-range, using an assortment of stutters and spins to give herself room to operate.

We’ve seen Berger go off before, but we’ve never seen her dominate like she did during the third quarter. Michigan State scored 14 points in the third. Grace Berger scored 17. She helped the Hoosiers quadruple their 5 point halftime lead, winning the quarter 30-14 and putting the game out of reach. From the hairband to the handles, everything Grace Berger does on the court is cool. Young players should be taking notes.

Berger also tied MSU’s Alisia Smith with a game-high 7 rebounds, and led IU in assists with 3.

Chloe Moore-McNeil

The Sophomore Guard is developing into an essential piece of this team right before our eyes. CMM played 20 minutes off the bench yesterday, scoring 10 points and filling in well defensively. She shot 2-4 from three, and Head Coach Teri Moren’s offense is starting to implement sets focused on getting her good looks from deep. Teams that are able to evolve over the course of the season will be successful come March, and CMM’s growth as a player is a huge part of Indiana’s season-long character arc.

Holmes’ comeback coming soon?

Indiana’s leading scorer has not played since suffering a knee injury at Wisconsin on January 5th. Although the specifics and timetable of her injury have remained undisclosed to the public, Hoosier fans have reason to be optimistic, as Holmes both warmed up and dressed for yesterday’s game. IU has two midweek games against middling Big Ten opponents before daunting three game stretch of Iowa, at Iowa, at Maryland to close out the regular season.

It’ll be interesting to see when exactly Coach Moren first plays Holmes. The mainstream train of thought argues to bring her back this week with a focus on getting into a rhythm before the Iowa games, but a return to action against fellow B1G superstar Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes would be must-see TV.

Hoosiers have a Valentine’s Day date with Nebraska tomorrow night. Tip is set for 7pm ET in Lincoln.