Bloomington, Ind. - Indiana women's basketball head coach Kathi Bennett is set to lead the Big Ten Foreign Tour squad through Australia June 7-17. She is one of six Hoosiers representing the conference at the tour, joined by junior All-Big Ten honoree Jenny DeMuth, fifth-year senior forward Jamie Gathing, associate head coach Trish Betthauser, assistant coach Paul Nixon and veteran trainer Wendy Poppy.
The rest of the roster has yet to be finalized and will be announced at that time. Each Big Ten school will send one representative.
The upcoming trip will mark the second consecutive summer in which Bennett has found herself coaching overseas, as she helped the United States to a silver medal as an assistant coach at the Pan American Games played in the Dominican Republic last summer.
"This is an opportunity I really look forward to," Bennett said. "To coach some of the top talent in the Big Ten and to represent the conference in Australia is an honor and will be a great experience for everyone involved."
Bennett and her staff were originally slated to lead the Big Ten Foreign Tour team last summer, but the tour was eventually cancelled due to world events. This is the 12th year the Big Ten has sponsored a Foreign Tour team, with the team having competed in New Zealand, Hungary, England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Slovakia, France and Switzerland in past years. In 11 years of competition, the Big Ten Foreign Tour teams have compiled a 42-18 record.
A second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2003-04, DeMuth comes off one of the best individual seasons in school history, scoring 532 points to become only the fifth Hoosier ever to score 500 points in a single season. Her 18.3 points per game were the fifth-highest mark in school history. She was the only player in the Big Ten ranking in the top five in the conference in both scoring (5th-18.3 ppg) and rebounding (5th-7.7 rpg) this year and was a two-time selection as Big Ten Player of the Week.
"Jenny had a tremendous year last year and deserves this opportunity to represent the Big Ten overseas," Bennett said.
Gathing's selection to the roster does not come without irony, as she was a member of the 2000 Big Ten Foreign Tour squad. However, she sustained a knee injury during the team's training and did not make the trip. She is anxious to return, as a knee injury also sidelined her for the 2003-04 season.
"This tour will be an excellent opportunity for Jamie to get back into the flow of things and compete after sitting out last year," Bennett said. "She has been through so much, and this is a nice way of rewarding her."
Betthauser comes off her fourth year on the Indiana coaching staff, serving as an assistant in 2000 and 2001 before earning a promotion to her current title of associate head coach prior to the 2002 season. A former player under Kathi Bennett at Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Betthauser has coached alongside Bennett since their days at the University of Evansville beginning in 1996. With Bennett injured and unable to coach during a three-game stretch of the 2002 season, Betthauser served as the acting head coach and led the Hoosiers to an upset of No. 15 Minnesota on February 17, 2002 as well as a road victory over Illinois.
Nixon comes off his second year as an assistant coach on Bennett's staff, but has 11 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt when his three-year stay at Southern Mississippi (2000-02), his two-year stint at Nevada (1998-99) and his four-year tenure at Marshall (1994-97) are included.
Poppy has spent the last 19 seasons as the Certified Athletic Trainer for the Indiana women's basketball team and is the school's head women's athletic trainer. A graduate-level instructor of therapeutic modalities and methods at IU, Poppy also serves as the trainer for the Hoosier women's soccer and women's tennis teams.