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Friday, April 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Bennett heads home with victory in mind

IU coach returns to home state to take on Wisconsin

It's homecoming weekend for coach Kathi Bennett.\nAnd everyone's making a big deal about it.\nExcept Kathi Bennett. \n"A lot of people have been saying a lot of things about this game," said Bennett of her trip to Madison, Wis., where many of her roots remain. \n"Yeah, I'm going back home in a way, but (the team) is so zeroed in on playing basketball right now after (Saturday's 89-68 loss at) Penn State, no matter who we're playing or where we play," she said. "It's going to be a nice opportunity because we need to win, not because of where the game is."\nRegardless, Bennett, who was born and raised in the dairy land of Wisconsin, returns home at 1:30 CST Sunday at the Kohl Center where IU (13-4, 4-2 Big Ten) takes on Wisconsin (9-6, 3-2 Big Ten as of Jan. 19).\nFirst, the sub-plots.\nBennett's father, Dick Bennett, coached the men's program at UW for the past six seasons before abruptly resigning earlier this season, citing burnout. Last year, he guided the Badgers to the Final Four.\nAfter nearly three months away from Kohl Center, Sunday will be the first time Bennett goes back to the site of many of his great coaching triumphs.\nWisconsin women's coach Jane Albright said she hopes he's there.\n"It'd be nice if he was here," Albright said. "I haven't seen him in a while."\nDick Bennett said before the season that he would be watching "from an inconspicuous spot" when his daughter came to Madison. Because of his resignation, Bennett has already seen his daughter coach twice, earlier this season in Bloomington.\n"In the four years Kathi was at Evansville, I didn't get to see her coach once," said Bennett of his daughter's former position. "It's like we're making up for lost time."\nThe Bennett name is big in Madison. Kathi Bennett\'s brother, Tony, is still on staff with the men's program at UW, and the Bennetts still live there.\nBut the Bennetts aren't Hoosiers spies in Badger country, Albright said. There's no way Dick or Tony Bennett would be relaying Badger secrets to Bloomington.\n"I was talking to Dick at a practice, and he made it a point to say to me, in that Dick Bennett kind of way, that 'You know, I would never tell Kathi anything. You know that, don't you? ...,' Albright said. \n"I think he advises her on everything except how to beat the Badgers."\n"Despite the drama, if the fans that fill the Kohl Center can keep there eyes from searching for Bennett's white hair and red sweater-vest, they should actually see a solid basketball game," Albright said.\nAnd an important one.\nWisconsin and IU both have two conference losses. A loss for either team puts it in a hole in the standings, dropping potentially to seventh place in the conference.\nIU is entering the game off the heels of its largest loss of the season, a 21-point handling from Penn State.\n"We need to bounce back and get back believing in ourselves," Bennett said. "We need to get back to staying focused for 40 minutes and just playing good basketball."\nThe key to Sunday's match-up may be the competition between UW and IU's frontcourts. Two-time Big Ten Player of the Week, junior center Jill Chapman will have her arms full with Badger power forward Jessie Stomski. The 6-3 junior leads Wisconsin with 16 points and eight rebounds a contest.\nAlongside Stomski, the Badgers boast the conference's biggest frontcourt in senior 6-3 forward LaTonya Sims and 6-4 sophomore center Nina Smith. \nWith three players 6-3 or taller, Bennett will most likely have to sit her third guard, 5-11 junior Tara Jones, in lieu of a traditional forward. Senior Rachael Honegger at 5-11 will have her hands full with the taller Badgers.\nJunior Erin McGinnis, at 6-1, and sophomore Erika Christenson at 6-5, may see more time against the taller Badger frontcourt.

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