Indiana faces Penn State at 8:06 p.m. Thursday at Assembly Hall, marking the first of a crucial seven-game span for the Hoosiers in which five games will be played at home.
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.
The game will also be televised by Fox Sports Chicago and Fox Sports Pittsburgh, with Dave Eanet handling play-by-play and Toni Roesch providing analysis.
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 60-50 record during her tenure in Bloomington and a 284-153 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.
In her 24th year at Penn State, Rene Portland is the Big Ten's longest-tenured coach. Portland has led Penn State to 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, highlighted by a trip to the 2000 Final Four. Portland has compiled a 638-219 record overall as a head coach, including her two-year stops at St. Joseph's and Colorado. The reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year, Portland is a three-time recipient of the honor (2003, 2000, 1994). Portland's playing career was highlighted by three consecutive national championships from 1972-75 while at Immaculata College.
WHAT IT MEANS An Indiana win would: * 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.
* Be only the fourth for the Hoosiers in its 23 meetings with Penn State all-time, but the second since 2002 under Kathi Bennett.
* Mark the first win for Indiana over a ranked opponent since a 54-50 victory over then-No. 23 Ohio State on January 12, 2003 at Assembly Hall.
* Be the first regular-season win for Indiana over Penn State since a 58-55 victory at Assembly Hall on February 8, 1998. The Lady Lions have won the last three meetings played in Bloomington since then.
* Move Indiana to 7-2 at home this year, marking the best home start since 2000-01, when the Hoosiers were 8-1 through their first nine home games under first-year head coach Kathi Bennett.
* Snap a current three-game losing streak, the longest such streak of the season for Indiana.
An Indiana loss would: * Extend Penn State's current winning streak to 11 games, highlighted by victories at Purdue (47-42), vs. Michigan State (64-62), vs. Minnesota (75-56) and at Ohio State (70-64).
* Move Penn State's all-time advantage to 20-4 in the all-time series between the two teams.
* Extend Penn State's winning streak over Indiana in games played at Assembly Hall to four games, with the last Hoosier victory a 58-55 triumph on February 8, 1998.
* Mark the eighth consecutive loss for Indiana against ranked opponents, with the last victory a 54-50 win over then-No. 23 Ohio State at Assembly Hall on January 12, 2003.
* Put Indiana under the .500 mark for the first time this season.
LAST MEETING VS PENN STATE Penn State claimed a narrow 67-64 win over Indiana in the second round of the 2003 Big Ten Tournament in the last meeting between the two teams. The game literally went down to the buzzer, as Indiana had the ball with a chance to tie as the clock wound down, but the Lady Lions did an excellent job of defending the three to seal the game. Tanisha Wright led all scorers with 26 points in the contest, sinking all 10 of her free throw attempts. Kelly Mazzante was limited to 4-of-14 shooting (28.6 pct) from the field and 1-of-6 from three-point range, but knocked down all nine of her free throw attempts.
Cyndi Valentin scored 10 points off the bench for Indiana in the contest, while Jenny DeMuth was held to six points and four rebounds.
LAST TIME OUT Indiana comes off a 71-65 defeat at the hands of Ohio State in Columbus Sunday. The Hoosiers trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half and found themselves down 16 with the score 67-51 and 3:46 remaining, but went on a 14-4 run to close out the game.
Jenny DeMuth had a game-high 23 points to go with her nine rebounds and two steals, with Cyndi Valentin adding 20 points and three steals. The contest marked the 10th 20-plus point scoring effort for DeMuth and the fifth for Valentin this year. The two players have reached the 20-point mark in the same game on four different occasions this season and form the highest-scoring duo in the Big Ten in which both players return next year.
HELPING FIND THE CURE A $10,000 donation was made by the Vera Bradley Foundation to the IU Foundation to help fund breast cancer research at the Hoosiers' game against Purdue at Assembly Hall on January 25.
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 nine 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 61.6
Points allowed per game in losses 73.2
Field goal percentage in wins .408
Field goal percentage in losses .388
Field goal percentage defense in wins .340
Field goal percentage defense in losses .481
Turnover margin in wins +2.4
Turnover margin in losses -2.9
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 3.0 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 55 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 75 steals, a mark that would rank fourth on Indiana's single-season chart and would be the highest figure since Pam Fritz made 77 steals in 1989.
DEMUTH LEADS THE WAY Averaging 19.1 points per game, Jenny DeMuth is on pace to score 514 points this year, a mark that would put her at 1,070 points for her career. If DeMuth stays on pace, 514 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 10 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 15.3 points per game. In addition, Valentin leads all Big Ten players in free throw percentage at .906 pct.
Big Ten Sophomore Leaders
Points Per Game
1) Cyndi Valentin (Indiana) 15.3
2) Lindsay Bowen (Michigan State) 13.9
3) Liz Shimek (Michigan State) 12.4
4) Ashley Josephson (Wisconsin) 11.6
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) 34.4
2) A. Williams/T. Guthrie (Illinois) 30.4
3) C. Matter/J. Davenport (Ohio State) 26.2
4) T. Wright/J. Strom (Penn State) 25.4
5) L. Bowen/L. Shimek (Michigan State) 25.0
* 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 686 of Indiana's 1304 points (52.6 percent).
The two have combined to register 15 20-point or more scoring games and score 20 or more points in the same game on four separate occasions (vs. NC State, Western Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio State).
VALENTIN LOVES 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 15.3 points per game on .429 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 1310
Freshman Total 378
Freshman Percentage of Team Total 28.9
Team Total 722
Freshman Total 218
Freshman Percentage of Team Total 30.2
Team Total 202
Freshman Total 60
Freshman Percentage of Team Total 29.7
Team Total 103
Freshman Total 54
Freshman Percentage of Team Total 52.4
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 2.8 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 49 shots this year, a mark that would be a new Indiana freshman record.
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.
Feb. 1 - Indiana trailed at Ohio State, by as many as 17 points in the second half and found themselves down 16 with the score 67-51 and 3:46 remaining, but went on a 14-4 run to close out the game, eventually falling 71-65.
NEXT GAME IU hosts Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday at Assembly Hall. The game will be part of Indiana's recognition of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for youths 18 and under and free for IU students with valid ID.
The game will be broadcast live along the Indiana Women's Basketball Radio Network, with Jeremy Gray calling all the action. The radio broadcast can also be accessed on the internet at iuhoosiers.com.