Indiana hosts Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday at Assembly Hall, marking the second 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.
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 60-51 record during her tenure in Bloomington and a 284-154 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.
Theresa Grentz is in her ninth season as head coach at Illinois. A 2001 inductee into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Grentz has compiled a 618-260 career record in her 30 seasons as a head coach that included a two-year stint at St. Joseph's before a 19-year tenure at Rutgers. Grentz is a two-time honoree as Big Ten Coach of the Year (1997, 1998) and has led Illinois to five NCAA Tournament appearances.
COACHING FACT With Indiana hosting Illinois Sunday and coming off a contest with Penn State Thursday, it bears mentioning that the combined career record of Illinois coach Theresa Grentz and Penn State coach Rene Portland is 1,256-479 (.724 pct)
WHAT IT MEANS An Indiana win would: * Be the fourth in the last five games for the Hoosiers over Illinois.
* Improve Kathi Bennett's record to 4-2 against Theresa Grentz (.667 pct.) Prior to Bennett's arrival in 2000-01, Indiana was 1-8 all-time against the Illini under Grentz (.125 pct.)
* Mark the first time Indiana has won three consecutive games over Illinois since the Hoosiers claimed a pair of wins over the Illini in 1994, then made it three straight with a win in the first meeting in 1995.
* Improve the Hoosiers' record to 7-1 in home games played against unranked opponents this year. Indiana's lone defeat at the hands of an unranked opponent was a 78-70 loss to Arkansas in which freshman sparkplug Leah Enterline was sidelined with an injury.
* Snap a four-game losing streak, the longest of the season for Indiana.
An Indiana loss would: * Extend Illinois' current winning streak to two games. The Illini enter the contest on the heels of a road win at Northwestern and a home victory over Michigan.
* Even the series between the Illini and the Hoosiers at three wins apiece during the Kathi Bennett era.
* Extend the Hoosiers' current losing streak to five games, marking the first five-game losing streak for Indiana since a seven-game slump extending from Jan. 16 through Feb. 9 of last year.
LAST MEETING VS ILLINOIS Indiana claimed a thrilling 63-56 win over Illinois in Champaign earlier this year in the last meeting between the two teams.
The game was a hard-fought one, with the lead never getting into double-figures at any point. Jenny DeMuth and Cyndi Valentin led the way for the Hoosiers, with DeMuth scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds and Valentin contributing with 17 points (six of which came on back-to-back three-pointers during the key stretch of the game.)
Indiana won the game with its defense, limiting the Illini to 25 points on 8-for-30 shooting in the deciding second half (26.7 percent).
The Hoosiers blocked 11 shots as a team, paced by Sarah McKay's freshman-record six. The 11 blocks as a team ranks second in school history.
EXPECT A BATTLE Kathi Bennett owns a slight 3-2 advantage over Theresa Grentz in the five head-to-head meetings between the two. Indiana picked up a 63-56 win in Champaign earlier this year, in the most lopsided win (seven points) in the hotly contested Bennett-Grentz series.
Prior to that win, the previous four meetings between Bennett and Grentz were decided by five points or less.
LAST TIME OUT Indiana comes off a 66-49 defeat at the hands of No. 5/6 Penn State at Assembly Hall Thursday. The Hoosiers hung tough in the first half behind an inspired defensive effort, limiting the Lady Lions to 25 points on 11-of-31 shooting (35.5 pct). Penn State overwhelmed Indiana in the second half, converting on 15-of-21 attempts from the field (71.4 pct) for the win.
Penn State All-American Kelly Mazzante led all scorers with 24 points, with Leah Enterline scoring a team-high 14 for the Hoosiers. Jenny DeMuth added 12 points and six rebounds, with Sarah McKay contributing 10 points and seven boards.
MURDERER'S ROW Thursday's loss to Penn State capped a four-game stretch in the Hoosiers' schedule in which three games were played against top-15 teams (No. 8/7 Purdue, at No. 14/13 Minnesota and vs. No. 5/6 Penn State. In addition, Indiana traveled to Columbus to battle an Ohio State squad that was receiving votes in Associated Press poll.
Of the Hoosiers' remaining six games, only one is against a team that currently ranks in the top-25 (No. 20/18 Michigan State).
FRESHMEN TURNING CORNER With Enterline and McKay both turning in double-figure scoring efforts against the Lady Lions, it marked the third and fourth double-figure scoring outburst for Indiana freshmen in the last three games.
McKay had 12 points and six rebounds at Ohio State, while Enterline scored 11 points at Minnesota.
On the year, Indiana's five freshmen have combined for 13 double-figure scoring efforts.
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 11 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 59.9
Points allowed per game in losses 72.5
Field goal percentage in wins .408
Field goal percentage in losses .388
Field goal percentage defense in wins .379
Field goal percentage defense in losses .483
Turnover margin in wins +2.4
Turnover margin in losses -2.5
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.
Ranking third in the Big Ten with 2.67 steals per game, 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 56 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 72 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 18.7 points per game, Jenny DeMuth is on pace to score 505 points this year, a mark that would put her at 1,061 points for her career. If DeMuth stays on pace, 505 points would be the seventh-highest single-season total in school history.
DEMUTH HIGHLIGHTS Kodak/WBCA All-America nominee 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) 14.9
2) Lindsay Bowen (Michigan State) 13.4
3) Ashley Josephson (Wisconsin) 12.1
4) Liz Shimek (Michigan State) 11.1
5) Ifeoma Okwonkwo (Northwestern) 10.3
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) 33.6
2) A. Williams/T. Guthrie (Illinois) 30.7
3) C. Matter/J. Davenport (Ohio State) 26.7
4) T. Wright/J. Strom (Penn State) 24.9
5) L. Bowen/L. Shimek (Michigan State) 24.5
* Both players in the duo must return to their respective teams next season.
DYNAMIC DUO Jenny DeMuth and Cyndi Valentin are the top scorers on this year's Indiana squad. The two players have combined to score 705 of Indiana's 1353 points (52.1 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).
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 2.6 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 48 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 travels to Evanston to battle Northwestern at 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, February 12 at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
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.