Valentin Leads IU Past Northwestern (1-18-04)
"I'm proud of Cyndi because she shot 1-for-7 in the first half," said Indiana head coach Kathi Bennett. "Cyndi stayed tough and did a great job in the second half. She made some huge shots."
The Hoosiers are a perfect 6-0 in overtime games under Kathi Bennett. IU also matched its best seven-game home start in the Bennett era as it improved to 6-1 at Assembly Hall this season.
Jenny DeMuth continued her season-long tear, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds for her sixth double-double this year. DeMuth added a season-high five assists.
Ignited mainly by its pressure defense, Indiana went on a 12-0 run midway through the second half to open its biggest lead of the game at 41-33. The Wildcats answered with a 14-4 run of their own to reclaim the lead at 47-45 with three minutes left after a long Alex Mueller three-pointer. Ifeoma Okwonko got to the rim to give Northwestern a 49-45 lead before Cyndi Valentin answered with a three-pointer and a pull-up jumper to put Indiana up, 50-49 with a minute left.
"I think our guards and post did a good job," said Valentin. "When the post got double-teamed they kicked it out and our guards moved the ball and got a lot of open looks."
The Hoosiers forced Northwestern into a shot-clock violation on the ensuing possession, followed immediately by a made free throw by Angela Hawkins on the front end of a one-and-one. Hawkins missed the second, but DeMuth grabbed the rebound and was fouled immediately. She missed the front end of her one-and-one, with Annika Boyd grabbing yet another offensive rebound and getting fouled. Boyd missed the front end of her one-and-one, which was then rebounded by Northwestern, setting up a final possession for the Wildcats with 12.5 seconds remaining on the clock.
Okwonkwo got the ball at the top of the key, and was fouled by DeMuth going to the rim with 3.6 seconds remaining. Okwonkwo made the first, then after an Indiana timeout, made the second to tie the game and send it into overtime. DeMuths foul was her fifth and kept her out of action during overtime.
Northwesterns sagging 2-3 zone defense forced Indiana out of its game in the first half and the first five minutes of the second half, with the Hoosiers unable to get any good looks inside. With Indiana forced to settle for a series of three-point attempts that werent falling.
However, Valentin drained back-to-back threes as part of the second-half Indiana surge.
The game got off to a furious start, with both offenses dictating the tempo. Northwestern did significant damage from outside, draining five of its first six three-point attempts to roar out to a 21-14 start. In fact, five of its first eight field goals were treys.
Indiana went on a 9-2 run to close out the first half spurred by a pair of late buckets from Angela Hawkins and went into the locker room with a 27-25 deficit. Making her first start since December 20, Hawkins finished the first half with nine points and three rebounds. DeMuth led all first-half scorers with 10 points.
Indiana entered the game as winners of four straight against Northwestern in games played at Assembly Hall, with the Wildcats last victory in Bloomington coming in 1999.
The Hoosiers return to action when they head to Champaign to battle Illinois at 8 p.m. (EST) Thursday.