For the second consecutive year, the Indiana women's basketball team is out to set a new home attendance record, and for the second consecutive year, breast cancer research will come out as the beneficiary.
The Hoosiers are teaming up with Vera Bradley Designs to attempt to draw more than 10,000 fans to Assembly Hall for Indiana's 2 p.m. game against Purdue on January 25.
In honor of IU women's basketball fans, Vera Bradley Designs will donate $10,000 for breast cancer research if the Hoosiers Pack the Hall with more than 10,000 people.
Indiana head coach Kathi Bennett donated $5,000 of her own money to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation last year after the Hoosiers established a new single-game attendance record by drawing 7,986 fans to their game against Wisconsin on January 24.
"It is an honor for us to be able to team up with Vera Bradley for such a great cause," Bennett said. "The research that they are doing and the strides that they are making are phenomenal and give hope that we are coming closer to finding a cure."
Tickets are available by calling the Indiana ticket office toll-free at 1-866-IUSPORTS or by visiting the official web site of Indiana athletics, www.iuhoosiers.com.
The Indiana-Purdue rivalry is one of the most heated in the Big Ten. The two teams squared off at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis last year, with the Boilermakers claiming a 53-51 win that wasn't sealed until Jenny DeMuth's layup attempt at the buzzer rimmed out. The game was played in front of an announced crowd of 32,055.
In addition, the Hoosiers and Boilers established a Big Ten Tournament single-game attendance record in 2002, with IU claiming a 55-41 win in front of 9,358 fans at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Bennett's Hoosiers are 6-1 at home this year, matching the best home start for Indiana during the Kathi Bennett era. Cyndi Valentin led the way for Indiana in its last home game, scoring 24 points (22 after halftime) in a thrilling 58-55 overime victory over Northwestern.
Purdue ranks ninth in the nation with a 14-2 record and comes off a 65-56 upset win over No. 6 Minnesota on January 18. All-America candidate Shereka Wright averages 19.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game to lead the team, while last year's Indiana Miss Basketball Katie Gearlds (Beech Grove HS) comes off the bench to average 9.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
Highland, Ind., native Jenny DeMuth is enjoying a breakthrough season for Indiana, averaging 20.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest. DeMuth is a two-time selection as the Big Ten Player of the Week and has turned in nine 20-plus point scoring games to go with six double-doubles this year. She is the only player in the Big Ten that ranks in the top five in the conference in both scoring and rebounding.
Bloomington South graduate Cyndi Valentin is the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 15.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Of Indiana's five leading scorers, three are native Hoosiers (DeMuth, Valentin and freshman Leah Enterline, a native of Monroeville who starred at Heritage HS). In addition, Bloomingdale native and former Turkey Run HS star Brigett Branson starts at power forward.
The two teams will compete for the Barn Burner Trophy, given to the winner of each year's Indiana-Purdue game and as part of the Titan Series, which is currently tied at three points apiece.