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Tuesday, April 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Bennett's return draws crowd

MADISON, Wisc. -- Women's basketball packed the front pages of Wisconsin newspapers.\nThe coverage shocked Wisconsin coach Jane Albright.\nNine thousand fans flurried to the Kohl Center, a large crowd even for basketball-friendly Wisconsin.\nBut the papers weren't covering the Wisconsin-IU women's basketball game.\nAnd a lot of the fans weren't there to see junior center Jill Chapman duel with UW sophomore center Nina Smith.\nThey were there and the flashbulbs were popping to see a Bennett stroll the Madison sidelines once again.\nDick Bennett returned to the Kohl Center for the first time since his unexpected retirement earlier this season Sunday in IU's 69-62 loss to watch his daughter coach.\nThe event was a story to everyone -- except all the key players.\n"It's emotional that my team lost," said coach Kathi Bennett, answering a question about the trip home. "It's emotional that we're not playing very well right now."\nBennett had downplayed the side story all week, saying the game was more important than coming home.\nAlbright said she wasn't sure if all the hype was necessary, but was happy the event brought 9,100 fans to the game.\n"It was a novelty story," said Albright, with Sunday's win and an Illinois loss put her team alone in second place in the Big Ten. "I'm glad you (the media) made it such a big story, because you brought the fans here.\n"And we were able to win on our home court."\nDick Bennett was bouncing from television station to newspaper reporter before the game started, talking about his retirement -- and what is was like to be back inside the arena where he coached for the first time.\n"My wife and I just worry for Kathi now," he said. "It's tough watching these games, because I'm always worrying for her."\nBennett sat in a box near midcourt, and declined an escort to get to his seat. Instead, he walked up the bleachers, just like any other paying spectator. Dick Bennett, who guided the men's Wisconsin team to the Final Four last year, shook hands and spoke with fans on the way to his seat.

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