Richmond, Va. The Indiana womens basketball team snapped its two-game losing streak as it captured a 68-54 victory over the Virginia Commonwealth Rams Friday night at the Alltel Pavilion in Richmond, Va. The win moves the Hoosiers above the .500 mark at 3-2. The victory also marks Indiana's first road win since February 16 of last year when they beat Wisconsin, 49-48. Virginia Commonwealth slips to 2-1 on the season.
Junior guard Jenny DeMuth led the way for the Hoosiers in the early minutes of the game, knocking down a career-high four three-pointers right off the bat. The Highland, Ind., product finished the game with her fifth career double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore forward Bridgett Branson made her mark early in the game, scoring her first field goal of the season at the 14:12 mark to put the Hoosiers up 11-6. Branson also finished with a career-high 11 rebounds. With Indiana leading 16-14 with less than eight minutes to go in the half, DeMuth came through again after she connected on a conventional three-point play. In the closing seconds of the half, freshman guard Annika Boyd, who finished with 10 points on the night, sank a three-pointer to give the Hoosiers a 12-point advantage, and their largest lead of the half with the score at 35-23.
Indiana broke out of the locker room and continued to control the tempo for the remainder of the game. The combination of DeMuth and sophomore Cyndi Valentin proved to be the deciding factor, as the duo helped the Hoosiers go on a 12-2 run down the stretch. The Hoosiers also turned up their defense, and never allowed the Rams to get within eight points in the second half. A pair of free throws from DeMuth gave Indiana its largest lead of the night, 55-35, with 8:10 left on the clock. Virginia Commonwealth would try to cut the lead in the last few minutes of the contest, but the Hoosiers were able to pull away with the win.
Winning today was very important because it builds our confidence, said DeMuth. This is huge for us. We put in a new zone offense but basically we just outplayed them and we were not going to lose.
Valentin finished with 10 points as well as matching her career-high four assists. Valentin and DeMuth both have reached double figures every game so far this season.
After only out-rebounding the Rams, 21-20 at the half, the Hoosiers did a better job of crashing the boards in the second half, finishing with 50 rebounds compared to the Rams 39. Freshman Sarah McKay also grabbed career-high eight rebounds.
Virginia Commonwealth was led by Cyndy Wilks and Lauren Hogan. Wilks notched a career-high 20 points, and Hogan finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Indiana is now 3-0 when holding opponents to under 40 percent from the field. In addition, the Hoosiers have won their last three non-conference road games.
Head Coach Kathi Bennett was happy to pick up a win on the road.
It was important for us to come out and win this game on the road, said Bennett. We were a little careless with the ball and we need to get better, because we have a tough game to prepare for on Sunday.
The Hoosiers continue their four-game road swing when they travel to Washington, D.C., to take on BIG EAST opponent, the Georgetown Hoyas. Tip off is set for Sunday, Dec. 7 at 2:00 p.m.