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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO Steve'S COLUMNS

PURDUE WOMENS BASKETBALL:
Indiana University's women's basketball team.


Unheralded Hoosiers Look To Add To Success Against Boilers


Date: 12/11/2002
Author: Steve
Steve

    The Indiana University campus in Bloomington, Indiana, has been honored for many of its undergraduate programs since its establishment in 1820. National recognition for academics cuts across all fields of study at IU, where more than 30 undergraduate programs are rated in the top 10 in the nation and more than 50 are listed in the top 25. Aside from individual departments, however, IU was honored by "Time" magazine as its 2001 College of the Year among research universities, edging out schools like Harvard, Michigan, and Stanford. One of the main accomplishments that earned IU this honor was its ability to retain a higher percentage of freshmen than in 1994. The percentage of Latino and African-American students returning for their sophomore year increased from 64% in 1994 to 82%. These jumps were the result of programs funded by a $2.5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment aimed at boosting the state-wide graduation rate. Read more about this honor from "Time" magazine by typing in the following address:

    http://www.time.com/time/2001/coy/university.html

    The Indiana Hoosiers are a team filled with veterans and newcomers alike, as 11 of its 14 roster spots are taken either by freshmen or seniors. The odd combination seems to be working for coach Kathi Bennett's crew as IU currently has a 4-2 record before playing North Texas on Wednesday. Always a strength of her teams, Bennett has led the Hoosiers to strong defensive play as opponents are shooting less than 36% from the field and less than 24% from the 3-point line. While the Hoosiers' stats aren't much better in those categories (41.0% and 27.6%), the women from Bloomington come up big at the free throw line where they shoot a collective 72.1%. Already two Hoosiers have recorded perfect free throw nights when attempting 10 or more shots: soph Jenny DeMuth was 14-14 against Ball State and frosh Kari Kullberg was 12-12 against Georgetown. Perhaps the most surprising stat in the first six games is that the Hoosiers, with only two players taller than 6'2", are outrebouding their opponents by an average of 9 per game. With solid defense, rebounding, and free throw shooting, the Hoosiers are bound to stay in any game they play this year and will pull off more than their share of upsets.

    The Hoosiers have had a good go of it early in the 2002-2003 season, starting at 4-2 before Wednesday's game against North Texas. While the squad is young, Kathi Bennett has created a schedule that should allow the youngsters relative success at an early stage: Wofford, Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, Nevada, Florida State, and Georgetown were the first six foes on the docket, followed by North Texas on Saturday. In its short preseason schedule (ten games total), Purdue will be the highest ranked opponent the Hoosiers play by far. The schedule, though, has already tested the Hoosiers as they have a victory in double overtime this year and a victory over a Georgetown team with standout Rebekah Brunson. Perhaps the saddest part of the Hoosiers' stats this year is that they've played before sparse crowds everywhere they've gone aside from the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage. It's a shame that the defending Big Ten Tournament champions have yet to play before home larger than 1000 this year and shows how far the program has to go to get the recognition it deserves, even on its own campus. Learn more about the Hoosiers at their official website:

    http://www.iuhoosiers.com/womensbasketball/

    How are the Hoosiers able to outrebound their opponents by such large margins with only two players, both freshmen, taller than 6'2"? The answer becomes clear when one of those freshmen is 6'3" center Angela Hawkins. Hawkins, who has started only the last three games for the Hoosiers, is averaging 9.7 rebounds per game in less than 20 minutes per game. She's already led the Hoosiers in rebounds five games this year and has four double-figure rebounding games, corraling a career high 13 against Eastern Kentucky. While Hawkins isn't the most polished offensive player at IU (shooting 43.6% from the field, 33.3% from the line, and having a 1:18 assist-to-turnover ratio before Wednesday's game against North Texas) she must be considered one of the Hoosiers' most energetic defensive players, leading the team in blocks with 9 and being tied for 4th in steals. The Winter Haven, Florida, HS graduate also knows how to play winning basketball as she led a team that went 56-9 during her junior and senior years of high school. While sophomore Jenny DeMuth is the Hoosiers' top offensive threat and senior Kristen Bodine runs the team from the point, it will be Hawkins who provides toughness for the Hoosiers in the paint and should give it a presence against other Big Ten teams. Learn more about freshman Angela Hawkins at the following page:

    http://www.iuhoosiers.com/womensbasketball/roster/hawkins.html

    The Hoosiers lost a lot from last year's Big Ten Tournament Championship team, including sometimes-dominating center Jill Chapman and feisty point guard Heather Cassady. The basics, however, are what Coach Bennett stresses, and those don't change in tandem with the players on the floor. If the Hoosiers play tough defense, rebound well against their opponents, and hit their free throws at a high rate, they'll shock more than a few teams especially those that stress the perimeter game. While the Purdue/IU rivalry will be played up in Indianapolis on Saturday, look for the Hoosiers to continue the success they had last year against the Boilermakers in the tournament: second fewest field goals made in program history, third lowest field goal percentage in program history, 9th fewest points scored in a game in program history. The Boilers had better be ready because the Hoosiers will be.


As news organizations move their stories to an archive, some of the links listed above may become inactive

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