Ali Patberg won’t get to play in any basketball games for Indiana University this upcoming season, but that didn’t mean she didn’t get to suit up for the Hoosiers on their recent trip to Italy.
The 2015 Miss Basketball from Columbus North will have to sit out this season after transferring from Notre Dame. NCAA rules, however, do not prohibit transfers from playing on exhibition trips.
“Those three games meant a lot to me,” Patberg said. “It was good for me to get a feel for my teammates and the coaching staff and how they are in a game. It makes me a little sad because it was great to play in those three games, but my focus now is helping my teammates to the best of my ability and getting better individually.”
IU won all three games it played. The Hoosiers beat KZKSU Radnicki 76-26 and 86-31 on back-to-back days in Florence.
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The following day, IU beat the Veneto Stars 83-51 in Venice.
“We tried to focus on little things that we needed to work on. We brought energy in every game and every possession.”
In the first game, Patberg scored four points on 1-of-1 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 shooting from the free-throw line. She added six rebounds and a team-high six assists in 20 minutes of action.
Patberg started at point guard for the Hoosiers in the second game and went 1 of 3 from the field for two points to go along with three assists and a steal in 21 minutes.
In the final game, Patberg went 2 of 2 from the field for four points. She also had a rebound, two assists and three steals in 16 minutes.
“I think it was really special for her to be able to play,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “The 10 practices that led up to that were really important and beneficial for everybody, but especially for Ali to get acclimated to our system and see how we do things.”
Patberg said she focused on being unselfish. She tried getting everyone involved and letting her teammates and coaches know what kind of player she is.
Her overall game, Patberg said, is better than it was before the trip.
“I’m just getting better every day,” Patberg said. “I can’t play this year, but it’s going to be a great year for me to grow and do whatever I can to help the team win. I’m excited to help my team at a different angle.”
Off the court, Patberg and her teammates had a chance to experience Italy. They visited Rome before going to Florence and Venice for the games.
Along the way, the Hoosiers were able to see the Coliseum, Vatican, Roman Forum and Leaning Tower of Pisa. They also went on a gondola ride.
“It was amazing,” Patberg said. “It was really fun to be with my new team and get to bond and know everyone, and my coaches. I had a great time off the floor and on the floor.”
The overseas basketball trip was the second in three years for Patberg. Shortly after her high school graduation, she traveled to Russia with the USA Basketball Under-19 women’s team.
That team brought home the gold medal.
“When we went for USA, it was strictly a business trip, to win the gold, and we didn’t do a lot of trips,” Patberg said. “This was more for the experience and getting close with our team and our staff.”
Patberg has been practicing against All-Big Ten point guard Tyra Buss. With Buss graduating after this season, Moren said Patberg will have a chance to compete for the starting point guard spot next year.
Moren is thrilled to have Patberg as a part of the IU program.
“She’s a kid that I’ve been able to watch for a long time just because of coaching in the state of Indiana, and being able to coach her is really special for me and our staff,” Moren said. “She’s a really good basketball player, but she’s an even better person. She’s a wonderful human being. She’s been great with our freshmen and is just a great kid.”
Ali Patberg’s stats from Indiana Unversity’s recent trip to Italy: