Brenna Wise’s leadership stands out on senior night

Junior Ali Patberg embraces senior Brenna Wise during senior night

Junior Ali Patberg embraces senior Brenna Wise after giving a speech Feb. 27 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. No. 22 IU beat Nebraska 81-53, Wise was honored as the only senior on the team. (COLIN KULPA)

No. 22 IU women’s basketball ‘s upward trajectory started when it won the Women’s NIT at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in March 2018.

That team featured former IU standouts Amanda Cahill and Tyra Buss and was IU’s best team yet under head coach Teri Moren. Waiting to take over for the graduating Buss and Cahill were redshirt transfers Ali Patberg and Brenna Wise.

Wise, now a senior, and Patberg, a junior, figured to be the logical replacements as leaders for the Hoosiers.

On Thursday, Wise showed that leadership. The lone senior was honored in IU’s 81-53 Senior Night victory over Nebraska.

Wise finished with three points, eight rebounds and an assist in her final regular season game at Assembly Hall. When she hit her only basket on her only attempt of the game at 3:25 in the third, the crowd rose to a standing ovation.

When she drew a charge at the 3:53 mark in the fourth as IU led 73-45, the crowd cheered equally as loud as her three and only surpassed in volume when she checked out of the game two minutes later.

“Brenna Wise is going to be hard to replace,” Moren said. “It has nothing to do with what she does between those lines. It’s everything about what she does inside that locker room.”

Wise was a key piece on the IU team that made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season. This season, even with her scoring down from last season’s 12 to 8.3 points per game, IU managed to break the program’s regular season record for wins at 22, clinch a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament and set itself up for an even deeper run in the NCAA tournament.

“We haven’t reached our peak yet,” Wise said. “I think that’s a great time to be close to your peak as tournament time starts. We’re gonna continue to take this momentum.”

Wise’s senior letter was put into a video tribute played Thursday that was more than seven minutes long. In the video she thanked her teammates, coaches, family and staff, all individually and almost all by name.

She also made it clear in the video that she feels her team is far from done and there is still plenty of work to do.

“What Brenna has done for our program, and the example that she set every day, she set the bar very high,” Moren said. “That’s going to be her legacy. That’s when I can go back and say ‘Brenna Wise was the kid that did all these things.’ How can we go out and we find another Brenna Wise?”