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Grace Berger’s career night helps Hoosiers take down Michigan State

The Hoosiers entered Saturday at the top of the Big Ten standings, and hosted the team that helped them get there. Michigan State came to Bloomington following an upset of Michigan, which allowed No. 7 Indiana to move into first place.

It wasn't a warm welcome for the Spartans, as Indiana cruised to a 76-58 victory behind a career night from Grace Berger.

Berger came alive in the third quarter dropping 17 of the team’s 30 points, and outscored Michigan State by herself. Berger’s career-high 29 points stemmed from her controlling the floor on offense, and getting any shot she wanted — mid-range pull up, cross key lay-in, turn around jumper; the rim looked 10 feet wide for Berger. 

“I think I just came out really aggressive,” Berger said after the game. “Our mindset was to get an early lead and never let it go.”

The Indiana defense has been another bright spot all season long. Still yet to allow an opponent to score over 70 points, the Hoosiers showcased why they have one of the best perimeter defenses in the country. 

Michigan State's leading scorer, Nia Clouden, came into the game averaging 21.3 points per game. Indiana’s relentless defense held her to just 10 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Throughout the course of the game Michigan State’s offense was disrupted and unable to get into any sort of rhythm.

The Hoosiers’ backcourt continues to play extremely well on both ends of the floor during All-American Mackenzie Holmes’ absence due to injury. The potential for this team if they hit their stride with Holmes returning could be scary for the Big Ten and the rest of the NCAA. 

Since Holmes has been out of the lineup, IU head coach Teri Moren has been able to see more of what her bench has to offer. When Holmes returns to the lineup, minutes will most likely be distributed differently than at the start of the season. 

But the Hoosiers need to finish strong in their regular season before they get too caught up in what could be. With less than three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Hoosiers must trudge through three ranked matchups.

In their final three games of the season the Hoosiers will play Catlin Clark and No. 25 Iowa twice and then play No. 15 Maryland on the road. With the Hoosiers sitting in first place, they have control of their own destiny.

While Indiana continues to wait for its leading scorer and rebounder to return, the team’s backcourt and newly discovered depth is still finding ways to win games.

Indiana’s next game will be against Nebraska on the road next Monday.

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