Bloomington, Ind. In one of the most suffocating defensive performances of the Kathi Bennett era, Indiana claimed a 75-41 win over Cornell in the first round of the Indiana Classic played at Assembly Hall Saturday.
The game marked the season opener for both squads.
It was clear from the onset that Cornell had no answer for Indiana’s pressure defense. The Hoosiers seemed to be in every passing lane, were constantly pressuring the ball and simply did not allow Cornell to have many good looks at the basket.
Indiana limited Cornell to four-of-30 shooting from the field in the first half and went into the locker room with a 40-9 lead. At one point during the first half, Indiana kept Cornell scoreless for 8:11.
Saturday’s contest marked the fewest points allowed by the Hoosiers since Indiana held Wofford to 34 points in a 90-34 rout last year.
Jenny DeMuth came up with six steals to lead the defensive charge for Indiana. She also led the team with 19 points.
The second half provided Kathi Bennett with an opportunity to experiment with different lineups. At one point, she fielded a lineup of Leah Enterline (freshman), Jamey Chapman (freshman), Annika Boyd (freshman), Carrie Smith (freshman) and April Williams (sophomore who saw very limited action a year ago).
The Hoosiers were able to establish the inside game immediately, pounding the ball in to Angela Hawkins and getting penetration from the guards to set the tone on the offensive end.
Indiana played without junior point guard LeeAnn Stephenson, who missed the game with an injury to her knee sustained in practice. She will undergo surgery and will be back in three to four weeks.
The Hoosiers came out with a starting lineup that featured a junior (DeMuth), three sophomores (Kullberg, Valentin and Hawkins) and a true freshman (Chapman).
The Hoosiers return to action at 4 p.m. tomorrow when they take on North Texas, an 86-73 winner over Indiana State in the championship game of the Indiana Classic. Cornell and Indiana State squareoff in the consolation game at 2 p.m.