Indiana is home to host Michigan at 7 p.m. (EST) Thursday at Assembly Hall.
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.
DEMUTH MILESTONE Junior Jenny DeMuth will soon become the 18th player in Indiana history to score 1,000 career points. DeMuth has 992 career points entering Thursday's game. In the likely event she reaches the 1,000-point plateau this year, DeMuth would become only the eighth player in school history to accomplish the feat in her junior year.
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 60-54 record during her tenure in Bloomington and a 284-157 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.
First-year head coach Cheryl Burnett led Southwest Missouri State to a 319-136 (.701) mark in her 15 seasons there, which included 10 appearances in the NCAA tournament and two trips to the Final Four.
HEAD TO HEAD When Burnett and Kathi Bennett were both in the Missouri Valley Conference, Burnett's SMS squads compiled an 8-2 record against Bennett's Evansville teams.
WHAT IT MEANS An Indiana win would: * Improve the Hoosiers to 34-13 all-time against Michigan, with the win total being the second-most for Indiana against any single opponent. The Hoosiers have won 35 games against Wisconsin.
* Be the second for Kathi Bennett in her last four head-to-head meetings against Cheryl Burnett. Bennett's Evansville team claimed a 68-55 win over Burnett's Southwest Missouri State team in 2000 before falling to SMS in the MVC Tournament later that year by an 88-75 margin.
* Snap a four-game Michigan winning streak in the series between the two teams.
* Snap a seven-game losing streak to Big Ten teams from the state of Michigan. The Wolverines enter as winners of four straight over Indiana, with Michigan State claiming three straight victories as well.
* Snap Indiana's current four-game losing streak in games played at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers have suffered setbacks at the hands of No. 8/7 Purdue, No. 5/6 Penn State, Illinois and Iowa.
* Snap a current seven-game losing streak that the Hoosiers are currently in the midst of. The streak is the longest since last year's Indiana squad dropped seven straight.
An Indiana loss would: * Extend Michigan's winning streak over Indiana to five games, dating back to 2001-02.
* Extend Indiana's skid against Big Ten teams from the state of Michigan to eight games. The Wolverines enter as winners of three straight over Indiana, with Michigan State claiming three straight victories as well.
* Mark the fifth consecutive home defeat for Indiana after the Hoosiers had started the season with a 6-1 record in games played at Assembly Hall.
LAST MEETING VS. MICHIGAN Indiana victimized itself down the stretch in its 65-59 defeat to Michigan on January 10 at Crisler Arena.
Leading, 62-59 with 53 seconds remaining, Michigan inbounded the ball underneath its own basket with three seconds remaining on the shot clock. Wolverine forward Tabitha Pool took the inbound pass and dribbled away from the rim, but April Williams committed a costly foul that sent Pool to the line shooting two free throws (Indiana was in the double-bonus at the time.)
Pool missed the first and made the second to put the Wolverines up, 63-59. Cyndi Valentin then stormed downcourt and dribbled the ball off her leg with no defensive pressure applied by Michigan.
Now forced to foul with four seconds left, Indiana sent Niki Reams to the line, where she sunk both attempts to ice the win.
Michigan center Jennifer Smith scored 33 points to lead all scorers, with Pool adding 15 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and three steals.
Jenny DeMuth had 19 points and six rebounds for Indiana, with Valentin adding 11 and Sarah McKay contributing with 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks before fouling out with 1:32 remaining.
LAST TIME OUT Indiana comes off a 78-69 defeat at the hands of Iowa at Assembly Hall last Sunday.
The game was played at a frantic pace, with Indiana turning in its best offensive performance against a Big Ten opponent this year.
The Hoosiers opened the game with a 16-2 run, but saw the lead deteriorate as Iowa rebounded from its early shooting slump to answer with a 24-9 run of its own to get back into the game.
The two teams traded baskets from then on, with the Hawkeyes getting some key scores when they needed them to seal the win.
Jenny DeMuth and Cyndi Valentin both scored 20 points to lead Indiana, with DeMuth turning in her 11th game of 20 points or more and Valentin turning in her sixth game of 20 points or more.
However, the frontcourt combination of Jennie Lillis and Jamey Cavey proved to be too much for the Hoosiers. Lillis scored 20 points, with Cavey adding a game-high 25 points to accompany her eight rebounds and six assists.
NOTING THE LAST GAME The Hoosiers scored 33 points in the first half on 14-of-26 shooting from the field against Iowa. In their previous game against Northwestern, the Hoosiers scored 36 points on 12-of-52 shooting from the field all game.
MURDERER'S ROW The Hoosiers have lost seven straight games, including a four-game stretch in the schedule in which three games were played against top-15 teams (No. 8 Purdue, at No. 14 Minnesota and vs. No. 5 Penn State. In addition, Indiana faced Ohio State in Columbus. The Buckeyes were receiving votes in that week's A.P. poll.
Of the Hoosiers' remaining three games, only one is against a team that currently ranks in the top-25 (No. 17/15 Michigan State).
FRESHMEN TURNING CORNER Sarah McKay and Leah Enterline have combined to register five double-figure scoring efforts in the last six games.
In fact, over a three game stretch vs. Ohio State, Penn State and Illinois, McKay averaged 10.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game.
On the year, Indiana's five freshmen have combined for 14 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 14 losses.
Points scored per game in wins 69.4
Points allowed per game in wins 56.1
Points scored per game in losses 58.3
Points allowed per game in losses 70.6
Field goal percentage in wins .408
Field goal percentage in losses .378
Field goal percentage defense in wins .379
Field goal percentage defense in losses .471
Turnover margin in wins +2.4
Turnover margin in losses -2.7
DEMUTH STARTS WITH "D" Jenny DeMuth had five steals against Iowa last game and had 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 fourth in the Big Ten with 2.75 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 66 steals on the year, a mark that ranks as the fourth-highest single-season total in school history, with three regular-season games still remaining. DeMuth's 66 steals mark the highest figure since Pam Fritz made 77 steals in 1989.
DEMUTH LEADS THE WAY Averaging 18.2 points per game, Jenny DeMuth is on pace to score 488 points this year, a mark that would put her at 1,047 points for her career.
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 11 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 and ranks fifth nationally in free throw percentage at .911 pct.
Big Ten Sophomore Leaders
Points Per Game
1) Cyndi Valentin (Indiana) 15.1
2) Lindsay Bowen (Michigan State) 13.3
3) Ashley Josephson (Wisconsin) 12.8
4) Liz Shimek (Michigan State) 11.0
5) Ifeoma Okwonkwo (Northwestern) 9.5
COMBINING FORCES Among tandems in which both players return next year, DeMuth and Valentin are the highest-scoring in the Big Ten.
Big Ten's Highest-Scoring Duos* 1) J. DeMuth/C. Valentin (Indiana) 33.3
2) A. Williams/T. Guthrie (Illinois) 31.1
3) C. Matter/J. Davenport (Ohio State) 27.6
4) T. Wright/J. Strom (Penn State) 24.9
5) L. Bowen/L. Shimek (Michigan State) 24.3
* 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 798 of Indiana's 1510 points (52.8 percent).
The two have combined to register 17 20-point or more scoring games and score 20 or more points in the same game on five separate occasions (vs. NC State, Western Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa.)
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 2.5 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's 44 blocked shots this year are just three short of the freshman record of 47 set by Shirley Bryant in 1985.
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 Indiana plays its 2003-04 road finale when it heads to Madison to battle Wisconsin at 2:30 p.m. (EST) Sunday at the Kohl Center.
The game will be broadcast live along the Indiana Women's Basketball Radio Network with Jeremy Gray calling all the action. The broadcast can be accessed worldwide via the internet at iuhoosiers.com. Simply click on the "Broadcasts" link and follow the prompts from there.