It was a complete and utter whirlwind for Grace Berger during her first week of playing in Athletes Unlimited Pro Basketball, but she is not complaining about it.

After finishing her debut season with the Indiana Fever of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in September of last year, she made her first international appearance, playing for Gernika KESB of Spain for a period of three months before suffering an injury.

Upon her return to the United States, she attempted to contact AU Pro Basketball in order to inquire about the possibility of playing in Dallas in 2024; however, there were no open positions. On the other hand, she was taken aback when she received a phone call about ten o’clock on the evening of Saturday, February 24.

After receiving a message from Megan Perry, the AU Director of Sport for Basketball, she requested that I give her a call. While I was on the phone with her, she informed me that there was a vacant position,” Berger stated. It made me really happy.

At the time, Berger was travelling with her parents to her birthplace of Louisville, Kentucky. Two days later, she left for Dallas to begin her studies at the American University. The Fever teammates from the previous season, Lexie Hull and Kelsey Mitchell, provided her with the information she needed to know exactly what to anticipate.

‘I was aware that this league is home to a big number of players. I wanted to challenge myself, especially as I was getting ready for my second season in the WNBA, and this was something I wanted to do,” Berger has stated. While it was a relatively short turnaround, it was a very exhilarating experience.Both Hull and Mitchell have been the subjects of a great deal of inquiry from me. They have explained to me how it operates.

As she did during her successful collegiate career in Indiana, where she was selected to the first team of All-Big 10 Conference three times, she did a little bit of everything, averaging nearly 11 points, four rebounds, and five assists over the course of her first three games. This was a nice twist that she found herself on Team Hull from the very beginning of the season.

One of the wonderful things about the point system is that it is not solely focused on scoring. According to Berger, it is essential to have the ability to perform various tasks. “Being a player who can adapt to different situations will be beneficial going into the next W season.”
Berger attributes the smooth transition that she has experienced both on and off the court to the exceptional efforts of the AU staff. They have made her feel at home from the moment she arrived, and they have provided her with the necessary assistance to ensure that she is able to concentrate on getting back on the court.

I am quite pleased with these. In addition to the fact that I just had a couple of days to get ready for my first games, it was obviously a very short turnaround time to get me here,” she explained. “They gave me a place to live and made sure that my living arrangements were satisfactory. As soon as they could, they moved me in. The medical staff has been wonderful, and they have assisted me in getting my body back to normal so that I can play three games in just four days at a time. The facilitators have done an excellent job of informing me of what kinds of things to anticipate. The entire group has been incredibly kind and friendly.

Berger, who is currently playing for Players for Pits, a dog rescue organization based in the Chicago area that provides second chances to breeds of dogs that are similar to pit bulls, has also enjoyed the off-court activities that AU organizes for its players as a means for them to get to know one another better and as learning experiences.

We were given a lesson in history by members of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) today, which was the sixth of March. Those who participated in women’s basketball throughout the 1970s provided us with a history of what it was like for the pioneers in our game, which is something that a lot of people are unaware of. She remarked that it was a really great move. Not only are they providing us with a positive experience on the court, but they are also providing us with a wonderful experience away from the court.

Speaking of diverse experiences, Berger was able to take away a great deal of positives from her time spent in Spain, despite the fact that her first experience playing overseas was regrettably cut short after she had an injury.

“It was unfortunate that you got harmed just because you moved on to that location. It is obvious that you do not want to be required to pack up all of your belongings,” she stated. Despite the fact that you wish you could have been able to continue the year, it was still a wonderful experience. Despite the fact that it was a different playing style, I believe that it is incredibly beneficial to have the opportunity to experience it. I intend to take some aspects from their game, which is the European style, and ideally incorporate them into the way the game is played here. There, the referees will let you to play. Without a doubt, the players are more physically active. Because of this, I will be better prepared to compete in the upcoming season of the W, which will be against some of the most talented athletes in the world.

And after hearing Hull, the 2023 AU Defensive Player of the Year, talk about how much she loved the AU experience during the previous season in Indiana, Berger realized that it would be a perfect way to prepare for the upcoming WNBA season. Hull talked about how much she loved the AU experience.

The timing couldn’t be better. In preparation for the beginning of training camp, the time frame of four weeks is ideal. “Every game you play, you are competing against WNBA competition,” Berger remarked. “I’m going to be guarding veterans up in the West. They are going to be in charge of protecting me, and I will have the opportunity to try out a variety of things that I intend to implement in the future year.

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