Halie Bergman was a proverbial beast in high school. As Turlock Christian High’s leader on the court, she helped guide the Eagles to a pair of Southern League championship and a pair of Division V State Tournament appearances, while averaging 24 points in her freshman and junior seasons before upping her average to 27 points her senior season. By graduation, Bergman has tallied a total of 1,761 points to set TC’s school record.
Bergman’s impressive prep career — one that spanned only two and a half seasons due to injuries — came to an end in early 2013, but her basketball career was only beginning. As the first TC athlete to earn a scholarship from a Division I school, Bergman joined the talented roster of the University of Pacific’s Women’s basketball team.
Now, 14 games into her freshman season, the former Eagle All-Star finds herself in a different role as she has been asked to learn rather than lead. It’s the life of most first year players — practice hard, study hard, play minimum minutes, support your teammates — and Bergman is loving every bit of it.
“College is a whole different ballgame. I came in knowing that it was going to be a learning year, for sure,” Bergman said. “I have a lot to learn coming from a D5 high school to Division I college basketball. I just want to learn as much as I can and I want to be able to contribute to this team in whatever way my coaches need me too.”
Dubbed by UOP coach Lynne Roberts as one of the “best shooters in this 2013 recruiting class,” Bergman was set to develop her game both on and off the court before injury slowed her down. Pulled muscles and a concussion during the pre-season set the Turlock native back and have limited her to only two minutes of play through the entire season.
But while she might not be actively working on her game during game time, Bergman has been making gains on the court during practice and off it while studying the playbook as she works on becoming a true shooting guard for the Tigers.
“It’s not just physical ability anymore, there’s a lot of preparation. Everyone in college can play. In high school you might say this is going to be an easy game, but in college every game is a tight game, and that’s how you have to prepare. You can never take a day off,” Bergman said.
When Bergman’s time to shine will come is unclear as of yet, but what is clear is that the 5’10” true freshman is building towards that moment with intense preparation. Her team is only three games into conference play with at least 15 more to go in the regular season, so the window of opportunity is still open wide.
When the time comes Bergman is confident she’ll be able to seize it because, as Dejuan Rice said, ‘when you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.’
“It’s just being ready. Knowing what we’re doing, the game plan, and being ready to get in if they need me to get in a playing some minutes. So far for me, that’s been the biggest transition in college— the mental aspect of it all,” Bergman said. “At TC, all four years I was there, I definitely had a bigger role than I do now as far as playing right off the bat, but here I’m not playing nearly as much but I’m learning so much. I feel like I’m improving every day. It’s just a matter of putting it together and waiting for an opportunity.”