Patberg headlines Hoosiers’ All-Big Ten honorees

After a regular season of unparalleled success, the Indiana women’s basketball team added some individual honors on Monday.

Redshirt junior guard Ali Patberg was named first team All-Big Ten by both coaches and media, sophomore guard Grace Berger earned a first team nod from the coaches and second team from the media, junior guard Jaelynn Penn was named honorable mention by the media, freshman Mackenzie Holmes was named to the All-Freshman Team and Brenna Wise earned IU’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

“I was excited for each one of those young ladies, so deserving,” IU coach Teri Moren said during her weekly radio show Monday night. “It was great to see them all representing our program.”

Patberg, who was named to the All-Big Ten second team a year ago, moved up a level after averaging 15.2 points, 5.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals while starting all 30 games for the Hoosiers, who tied the program record for total wins in a season and set a new mark for regular-season victories. She finished the season scoring 20 or more points in four straight games and hitting double digits in the last 13 contests. She is a top-10 finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award and was on the late season top 20 for the Wooden Award.

In addition, Patberg was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Monday. She averaged 23.5 points and 5.5 assists last week as the Hoosiers capped off the regular-season with double-digit wins over Nebraska at home and Michigan on the road.

“I just think Ali has been more aggressive, and we’ve asked her to be,” Moren said. “When she’s aggressive and she’s scoring, it gives that supporting cast of hers so much confidence and everybody elevates their game, but to say that it all starts with Ali Patberg would be an understatement. When Ali is aggressive and decides to score the ball, we’re a better team.”

Berger was rewarded after a breakout sophomore season in which she averaged 13.3 points per game, nearly eight points better than a season ago. The Louisville, Ky., native is shooting 46.7 percent from the floor while also recording 5.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and a team-high 1.4 steals per game. She had a career high in points with 25 against Minnesota on Jan. 27 and in rebounds with 15 on Feb. 9 at Nebraska.

“I’m extremely happy for Grace, just (as a reward) for the work she did over the summer,” Moren said.

Holmes has been the Hoosiers’ sixth woman in her debut season, averaging 10.9 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 63 percent from the field. The Gorham, Maine, product has twice scored a season-high 22 points and been in double figures 17 times, falling just short of Big Ten Freshman of the Year, an award won by Maryland’s Ashley Owusu.

“For Mackenzie in particular, I was a little disappointed,” Moren said. “I know Owusu is a great player, but I thought if anybody had a chance to be freshman of the year, it would be Mac.”

Penn earned All-Big Ten honors for the third consecutive year following a selection to the All-Freshman Team in 2018 and second team All-Big Ten in 2019. The Louisville, Ky., native has started all 30 games despite battling plantar fasciitis to average 10.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Penn scored her 1,000th career point in a win at Rutgers and currently ranks 19th all-time in scoring with 1,200 career points.

“With Jaelynn, what people forget is she is a young lady who has played pretty banged up all season but hasn’t missed a practice or a start all season,” Moren said.

Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle was named Big Ten Player of the Year, while Northwestern’s Joe McKeown earned Coach of the Year honors.

NCAA opportunity

The NCAA selection committee revealed the current top 16 teams on Monday night, and Indiana was not one of those teams.

The Hoosiers, ranked No. 20 in this week’s Associated Press poll, apparently still have work to do to move up and earn a No. 4 seed in the Big Dance.

The current four seeds, in order from No. 13-16, are Iowa, Arizona, Oregon State and DePaul. The Blue Demons have lost two straight heading into the Big East Tournament and are the most tenuous of the bunch.

The top 16 teams in Monday’s reveal stand to host the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but the situation remains fluid, so IU’s performance in the Big Ten Tournament could well be a deciding factor.

What’s next?

Fourth-seeded Indiana will open Big Ten Tournament play at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The Hoosiers will take on the winner of Thursday’s game between fifth-seeded Rutgers and the Illinois-Wisconsin victor.

That game will be preceded by top-seeded Maryland and the Purdue-Michigan State winner.

10 comments

  1. IU having so many girls on the All Big 10 honor roll is a testament to the great season they have had. The success the team has had is because of the great players mentioned as well as a very balanced roster. And with any team’s success we need to reflect on the coaching staff who guide these young ladies to their current success! Go Hoosiers!

  2. Congrats to program/team/athletes/Lady basketball players that continues to make themselves, Indiana University and all the fans proud. The Indiana University Ladies Basketball team sure is easy to cheer for and this is a true representation of why.
    Yes. It all started on the hiring of T. Moren plus the staff that she has chosen and maintained. There is more to come under the direction of Teri Moren and staff, and the IU Lady Hoosiers. I think of the stellar exemplary CHARACTER when I think of the IU Ladies basketball program.

  3. Congrats to IU ladies for job well done and all the deserved honors. Great to both Patberg and Berger make all big ten first team not easy to do. Was good to see Holmes made the all freshman team by both the coaches and media. I thought she had a shot at the sixth woman award but was beat out by Brown of Neb. who avg. more pts and is also more of a guard. Great awards to all, but now back to the business at hand. There is a tourney to be played and Im hoping IU comes out with a chip on their shoulder from having been side-stepped by the selection committee to this point. Good luck IU ladies!

  4. Moren is not the only one with rather strong statements about IU ladies, take Charlie Creme for instance. In his article over on espn ncaaw he talked about his version and why Northwestern should have been the 8 seed and not UCLA and also why IU should have been in and not Depaul and he showed why on both cases, if you have an interest go read it for yourself. It makes plenty of sense in both cases.

  5. Indy Star has a good Terri Moren article today. Nice read while waiting an hour for the game to start

  6. Read article. T. Moren is just the recipe for success at IU women basketball program. Continued success. Plus a long career at IU would be great for the program.

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