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Grace Berger leads Indiana past Princeton and into Sweet 16

(Kelly Donoho/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Indiana survived a scare Monday night, narrowly beating Princeton 56-55 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.

Senior guard Grace Berger scored the go-ahead layup with 28.2 seconds remaining for the No. 3 seed Hoosiers. She led all scorers with 15 points and seven rebounds.

A steal by Ali Patberg and free throws by Aleksa Gulbe a few minutes later secured Indiana’s Round of 32 win over 11th-seeded Princeton.

The Hoosiers shot 51.2 percent on field goals and 33.3 percent from 3-point range, while the Tigers shot 33.9 percent on field goals and 29.4 percent from beyond the arc. But the Tigers flourished defensively, forcing 17 turnovers and scoring 18 points off turnovers to the Hoosiers’ seven.

“I think we showed the national stage that we can compete with anyone,” coach Carla Berube said. “We have very talented players who work really hard, play together, play for each other and have a lot of fun. I think it’s a great recipe to show everyone out there Princeton basketball and the Ivy League is really great.”

Down 39-29 at halftime, Princeton erased the deficit and took a 50-49 lead with five minutes left in the game. The Tigers were led by Julia Cunningham and Grace Stone, who each had 15 points. From there, it was a back-and-forth battle until Berger broke the tie.

After the buzzer sounded, players made their way to the student section to celebrate.

“I asked coach [Teri Moren] if we could go thank them and when I got there, I said, ‘Screw it, I’m just going up there with them,'” said Mackenzie Holmes, who had 10 points and eight rebounds on the night. “I just wanted them to know we appreciated them being here and thank them for showing up.”

The Hoosiers now advance to take on UConn, which narrowly avoided a loss of its own, at 2 p.m. ET Saturday for a spot in the Elite Eight.