On the same day Indiana women’s basketball has a chance to make history, the Hoosiers will honor history.
IU could clinch a share of its first Big Ten title in 40 years on Sunday with a win over Purdue (Noon ET, BTN). The game is sold out, for the first time in program history. It’s the last home game of the regular season, so IU will hold senior night ceremonies after the game.
Indiana will honor two seniors, Grace Berger and Alyssa Geary. Both are fifth-years, with Geary in her first year with the Hoosiers after transferring from Providence.
Berger currently sits in 11th on Indiana’s all-time scoring list with 1,749 points. She’ll pass Ali Patberg for 10th place on Sunday with four points, and she’d pass Cyndi Valentin for ninth with 21.
During the Michigan game, she moved into second in program history in assists with 535. Tyra Buss holds the IU record with 574, so Berger could have a chance to take that during IU’s postseason run.
She’s eight steals away from moving into the top 10 in school history, as well.
This won’t be Berger’s final game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, as Indiana is in line for a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament, which would mean hosting the first two rounds in Bloomington for the second year in a row. But the senior day ceremony will recognize one of the most decorated players to wear an IU uniform.
“It’s always special, senior night is a special day for, especially Grace Berger and Alyssa Geary will be a part of that as well. And it’s always bittersweet,” IU head coach Teri Moren said. “But here’s what I do know about Grace Berger. There’s no softness in Grace Berger. If there’s any moment that she’ll have, it’ll be after the game. But I don’t even know if we’ll see that, because she knows that we’ve got to turn around and go to Iowa the next week.”
Berger is, if not the most impactful player in program history, certainly among them. Her on-court presence is clear through the statistics, but particularly while watching her play. She has such a confident command on Indiana’s offense and makes her teammates better.
But she’s been just as impactful for the program off the court. Simply getting her to Bloomington was a big deal. She committed to the Hoosiers in October 2016, when she was a junior at Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville. Moren landed Berger, a five-star recruit, within a few weeks of getting a commitment from fellow Louisville five-star Jaelynn Penn.
Bringing in Berger, and Penn, raised the standard for IU’s recruiting. It set the table to land another five-star in Mackenzie Holmes a couple years later. It elevated Indiana’s profile on the recruiting trail.
And during her time at IU, Berger has developed into a quiet leader, one that her teammates want to do right by.
“I don’t think they want to let Grace Berger down,” Moren said. “I think that there’s a special incentive for us to play these games with the same kind of moxie, determination, seriousness, love that Grace Berger plays with.”
Geary has seen limited playing time this year, averaging 6.6 minutes per game across 18 contests. She’s recorded 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.
She was the first transfer to commit to IU for this season, announcing it during IU’s NCAA Tournament run last year. Sydney Parrish and Sara Scalia would follow suit weeks later.
Indiana’s other two seniors, Holmes and Scalia, have informed IU’s staff that they will return for the 2023-24 season, so they won’t be part of the ceremonies.
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