THE BASICS Indiana continues a brutal four-game stretch in its schedule when it travels to Minneapolis to battle Minnesota at 8 p.m. (EST) Thursday at Williams Arena.
Including last Sunday's game against No. 8 Purdue, the Hoosiers have four consecutive games against ranked teams. After Thursday's game against Minnesota, the Hoosiers head to Ohio State, then are home for Big Ten leader Penn State.
ON THE AIR The game will be broadcast live on 105.1 WHCC Radio Bloomington with Jeremy Gray calling all the action. In addition, the broadcast can be accessed worldwide on the internet at iuhoosiers.com.
INJURY REPORT Senior captain Jamie Gathing will not play, as she is out for the year after sustaining a knee injury during individual workouts.
THE COACHES Fourth-year head coach Kathi Bennett leads the Hoosiers into action. Bennett has compiled a 60-48 record during her tenure in Bloomington and a 284-151 career mark in her 16 seasons as a head coach. Bennett is coming off a summer in which she served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the Pan American Games, helping the team to a silver medal.
Pam Borton is in her second year at the helm of the Minnesota program. Borton guided the Golden Gophers to an appearance in the Sweet 16 last year. Borton came to Minnesota after a five-year tenure at Boston College, both as an assistant coach and an associate head coach. Prior to her time at B.C., she was the head coach at Vermont from 1994 through 1997, guiding the Catamounts to a 69-46 mark and an appearance in the 1994 NCAA Tournament.
WHAT IT MEANS An Indiana win would: * Be the 11th in the last 14 meetings with Minnesota, dating back to 1996.
* Be the sixth win in the last seven games for Indiana over Minnesota in Minneapolis.
* Be the first win for Indiana over a ranked opponent since January 12, 2003, when the Hoosiers claimed a 54-50 win over then-No. 23 Ohio State at Assembly Hall.
* Add to Kathi Bennett's reputation of being a giant killer. During the last three years, Bennett's Hoosiers have knocked off two top-10 teams, three top-15 teams and six top-25 teams.
* Improve Bennett's record to 5-2 against Minnesota since taking over at Indiana in 2000-01.
* Be the second consecutive win for Indiana on the road against a Big Ten opponent. The Hoosiers handed Illinois a 63-56 defeat in Champaign last Thursday.
* Extend Minnesota's current losing streak to four games. The Gophers started the year by winning their first 15 games, but have since dropped each of their last three contests at the hands of Purdue in West Lafayette, Penn State in State College and Michigan State in Minneapolis.
An Indiana loss would: * Be the fifth consecutive defeat for Indiana at the hands of a ranked opponent. IU's last win over a top-25 team came on January 12, 2003, when the Hoosiers claimed a 54-50 win over then-No. 23 Ohio State at Assembly Hall.
* Bring the all-time series between Indiana and Minnesota to a tie at 22 wins apiece.
* Be the third Golden Gopher win in the last four games against the Hoosiers.
* Snap a three-game Minnesota losing streak this year. The Gophers started the year by winning their first 15 games, but have since dropped each of their last three contests at the hands of Purdue in West Lafayette, Penn State in State College and Michigan State in Minneapolis.
LAST TIME OUT Indiana comes off a 71-47 defeat at the hands of eighth-ranked Purdue at Assembly Hall last Sunday. The Hoosiers stuck with the Boilers for the first half and were within six points early in the second half before Purdue exploded behind the play of Shereka Wright (22 points), Erin Lawless (18 points) and Katie Gearlds (13 points) to put the game away in the second half.
Cyndi Valentin led the way for Indiana with 15 points, three rebounds and two steals, while Jenny DeMuth was held to a Big Ten season-low 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field.
HELPING FIND THE CURE Although Purdue claimed the victory in Sunday's contest, the real winner was breast cancer research, as a $10,000 donation was made by the Vera Bradley Foundation to the IU Foundation to help fund breast cancer research.
The original goal of the game was for Vera Bradley to donate $10,000 if 10,000 fans were in attendance. However, a furious snowstorm that buried the Bloomington area with five inches of snow and made the roads extremely hazardous the morning of the game kept the crowd at 7,110. With over 10,000 tickets sold prior to the day of the event, the Vera Bradley Foundation still moved forward with the donation, citing the fact that had the weather cooperated, the attendance goal would have easily been reached.
DEFENSE THE DIFFERENCE Following is a breakdown comparing Indiana's performance in its 10 wins against its eight losses. It is clear that defense and turnovers are two of the biggest factors.
Points scored per game in wins 69.4
Points allowed per game in wins 56.1
Points scored per game in losses 62.4
Points allowed per game in losses 72.9
Field goal percentage in wins .408
Field goal percentage in losses .403
Field goal percentage defense in wins .340
Field goal percentage defense in losses .478
Turnover margin in wins +2.4
Turnover margin in losses -3.9
DEMUTH STARTS WITH "D" Jenny DeMuth had four steals against Illinois and seven steals against Iowa earlier in the year, setting a new career high and matching the fourth-highest single-game total in school history.
Averaging a conference-best 3.57 steals per game in Big Ten play, DeMuth also has a pair of six steal games this year (vs. Wisconsin and Cornell) to go with two five-steal efforts (vs. Western Illinois and North Texas.)
DeMuth has 53 steals on the year. She was the team leader in steals last year with 50. On her current pace, DeMuth would finish the year with 79 steals, a mark that would rank third on Indiana's single-season chart and would be the highest figure since Lori Burroughs made 90 steals in 1979-80.
DEMUTH LEADS THE WAY Averaging 19.7 points per game, Jenny DeMuth is on pace to score 532 points this year, a mark that would put her at 1,088 points for her career. If DeMuth stays on pace, 532 points would be the fifth-highest single-season total in school history.
DEMUTH IS ON FIRE! Jenny DeMuth has earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors twice this year, once after scoring 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Western Illinois. With the Hoosiers trailing by 16 with 10:55 remaining in the contest, DeMuth went on a 17-0 run by herself to give Indiana the lead and set up the eventual IU victory.
She was the Big Ten Player of the Week after earning all-tournament and tournament MVP honors at the Indiana Classic in addition to being an all-tournament team selection at the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.
The Highland, Ind., native scored 20 or more points nine times and has six double-doubles on the year.
DEMUTH'S BREAKOUT YEAR Jenny DeMuth is enjoying the biggest breakthrough season of any Big Ten player. Following is a comparison of Jenny DeMuth's stats this year compared to her first two seasons:
VALENTIN LEADS BIG TEN Bloomington native Cyndi Valentin leads all Big Ten sophomores in scoring, averaging 15.1 points per game. In addition, Valentin leads all Big Ten players in free throw percentage at .893 pct.
Big Ten Sophomore Leaders
Points Per Game
1) Cyndi Valentin (Indiana) 15.1
2) Lindsay Bowen (Michigan State) 12.9
3) Ashley Josephson (Wisconsin) 12.1
4) Liz Shimek (Michigan State) 11.5
5) Ifeoma Okwonkwo (Northwestern) 10.6
COMBINING FORCES Jenny DeMuth and Cyndi Valentin form one of the most potent scoring duos in the Big Ten. In fact, among tandems in which both players return next year, DeMuth and Valentin are the highest-scoring in the conference.
Big Ten's Highest-Scoring Duos* 1) J. DeMuth/C. Valentin (Indiana) 34.8
2) A. Williams/T. Guthrie (Illinois) 29.7
3) C. Matter/J. Davenport (Ohio State) 26.0
4) T. Wright/J. Strom (Penn State) 25.6
5) L. Bowen/L. Shimek (Michigan State) 24.4
* Both players in the duo must return to their respective teams next season.
DYNAMIC DUO DOING DAMAGE Jenny DeMuth and Cyndi Valentin are the top scorers on this year's Indiana squad. The two players have combined to score 627 of Indiana's 1193 points (52.6 percent).
The two have combined to register 13 20-point or more scoring games and score 20 or more points in the same game on three separate occasions (vs. NC State, Western Illinois and Wisconsin).
VALENTIN LOVES BEING HOME Indiana is off to a 6-2 start in home games this year, due largely to the play of Cyndi Valentin. The Bloomington native averages 17.8 points per game on .475 shooting from the field at Assembly Hall. On the year, Valentin averages 15.1 points per game on .436 shooting.
FOLLOWING THE FRESHMEN Indiana's 12-player active roster is dotted by five freshmen. Following is a look at what the freshmen are contributing on the stat sheet.
Team Total 1193
Freshman Total 343
Freshman Percentage of Team Total 28.8
Team Total 632
Freshman Total 199
Freshman Percentage of Team Total 31.5
Team Total 183
Freshman Total 55
Freshman Percentage of Team Total 30.1
Team Total 93
Freshman Total 47
Freshman Percentage of Team Total 50.5
IU AMONG NATION'S YOUNGEST Indiana is the fourth-youngest team in the nation in terms of average age of players and the youngest team in the nation among the BCS conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) Team Avg. Age 1. Wofford 18.77
2. Loyola (Md.) 18.8
3. Utah State 18.9
4. Indiana 19.0
4. Hawaii 19.0
6. Texas Tech 19.08
7. Appalachian State 19.1
8. Central Florida 19.2
8. Michigan State 19.2
9. Northern Arizona 19.3
9. New Hampshire 19.3
MCKAY SETS FROSH RECORD Sarah McKay is emerging as a name to remember for Indiana. Standing 6-7 and only a freshman, McKay averages 2.9 blocked shots per game against Big Ten opponents and set a new Indiana single-game freshman record with her six-block performance at Illinois. McKay is on pace to block 46 shots this year, a mark that would rank second on the single-season freshman records list.
MCKAY EXPLODES Freshman Sarah McKay had a huge day against Ball State in the non-conference finale. McKay scored 24 points (the sixth-best single-game mark ever for a freshman at Indiana) and hauled in 16 rebounds (the fifth-highest single-game mark ever for a freshman at Indiana).
Her 24-point effort against Ball State came on the heels of a 19-point performance against Arkansas two games prior and a nine-point, 10-rebound showing against Western Illinois immediately before.
McKay started the season on the Hoosier bench, but has worked her way into the regular rotation and eventually into the starting lineup.
Over a three game span vs. Arkansas, WIU and Ball State, McKay averaged 17.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
McKay is one of three freshmen to start for IU this year.
ENTERLINE SETS RECORD When Leah Enterline dished out eight assists at NC State on December 14, she established a new Indiana freshman record, surpassing the mark of seven assists, accomplished by Heather Cassady in 1999 and Kristi Green twice in 1996.
NOT OVER 'TILL ITS OVER Indiana has demonstrated the ability to come back when down by large margins on multiple occasions this year. Following is a look at the Hoosiers' most significant comebacks.
Nov. 28 - IU trailed Mississippi State, 55-34 (21-point deficit) with 12:24 remaining before going on a 33-13 run to bring the score to 68-67 with 19 seconds remaining. The Hoosiers had the ball with a chance to take the lead, but a costly traveling violation gave the ball back to the Bulldogs. With the shot clock turned off, IU was forced to foul and send MSU to the line, where the Bulldogs went on to ice their 70-67 win.
Dec. 7 - Indiana trailed at Georgetown, 23-9 in the first half before erupting behind Leah Enterline's career-high 17 points (15 in the deciding second half) to claim a 72-62 win.
Dec. 22 - IU trailed Western Illinois, 54-38 (16-point deficit) with 11:33 remaining before Jenny DeMuth went on a 17-0 run by herself to give Indiana a 55-54 lead with 6:23 remaining and set up an 81-74 Indiana win.
DOUBLE-FIGURE FROSH In 18 games played, Indiana has already seen a freshman reach double figures on 10 different occasions this year. Leah Enterline, Sarah McKay and Annika Boyd have three double-figure scoring efforts apiece, while Jamey Chapman has one.
HIGH-PERCENTAGE FROSH Against Ball State, Indiana's freshmen combined to score 40 of the team's 71 points (56.3 percent), and grab 26 of the team's 46 rebounds (56.5 percent).
NEXT GAME IU faces its second-consecutive top-15 opponent when it battles No. 14 Minnesota at Williams Arena at 8 p.m. (EST) Thursday.
The game will be broadcast on 105.1 WHCC Radio Bloomington with Jeremy Gray calling all the action. The broadcast can also be accessed worldwide on the internet at the official site of Indiana Athletics, iuhoosiers.com.
Click on the broadcasts link, then follow the prompts to the women's basketball broadcasts and follow the prompts from there.