Indiana Daily Student

Hoosiers face Gophers in rematch

The faces are familiar. The match-ups won't change much. And the Hoosiers and coach Kathi Bennett, hope the result won't change, either.\nIU looks to complete the season sweep of Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. today in Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers held off the Gophers 79-76 a week ago in Minneapolis.\n"Knowing their tendencies helps," Bennett said. "Yeah, it helps that the girls will remember the match-ups, but it's also fresh in Minnesota's head that they lost a close game.\n"Every game in the Big Ten is tough, and this one will be no different," she said.\nIn the first game, Jan. 4, junior center Jill Chapman scored 17 second-half points to lead IU back from an 11-point deficit. But the Hoosier defense was shaky, allowing the most points all season. Minnesota freshman guard Lindsey Whalen led the Gophers' scoring attack with a game-high 21 points\n"I felt that, defensively, we struggled and had no one stopping the ball tonight," Bennett said after the game. "Thank goodness we could keep scoring with them. I am so pleased that when it counted down the stretch, and we had to take care of the ball, that we did."\nMinnesota (7-7, 0-3 Big Ten) controlled most of the game, but poor free-throw shooting down the stretch hurt the team, Gopher coach Cheryl Littlejohn said.\nThe Gophers were 22 for 32 at the free-throw line, but three misses in the game's final four minutes crushed Minnesota's chances.\n"Poor free-throw shooting has cost us two games this year," Littlejohn said. "We missed the front end of three one-and-ones in the last four minutes of the game. We missed easy lay-ups in the last four minutes of the game. We got ourselves in the right position, but we need to finish games," she said.\n"But (losing) puts us in the position to have that fire to get back there and go over the top."\nIn the interim between last week's game, Minnesota lost one of its key players to injury. Freshman Ozlem Piroglu, the Gopher's starting point guard, will miss up to a month with a strained medial collateral ligament in her left knee.\nLosing Piroglu thins an already inexperienced team that has used close to a dozen different starting line-ups so far this season. In 12 games, Piroglu was averaging more than eight points and nearly five assists a game.\n"This has been a horrific year of injuries," Littlejohn said. "Our starting point guard went down with an MCL injury, and really thins us at guard."\nIn Piroglu's place, sophomore Trish McGhee will start at the point. In her first start Sunday against Michigan State, McGhee scored four points and added one assist. In her first meeting with IU, she came off the bench to score a season-high 11 points. \nLittlejohn's team is loaded with freshmen and sophomores, leaving the third-year coach without much floor leadership. \n"Seven out of the nine players I'm playing are freshmen and sophomores," Littlejohn said. "So it's constantly a learning experience. They don't know what to expect from the Big Ten yet.\n"Not knowing what this conference is all about, it's tough for this team," she said.\nWhalen has taken charge of the team, leading in scoring and in her presence.\n"She's been consistent since day one," Littlejohn said. "She can do so many things. She's only a freshman, but she's someone everyone looks to."\nWhalen averages 17 points per game, ranking her fourth in the Big Ten.\nFor IU (12-3, 3-1), the key will be rebounding from Sunday's loss to Purdue. In what Bennett called a very tough defeat, the Hoosiers trailed by as many as 22 points to the No. 6 team in the country.\nChapman, who led the Hoosiers the first time against Minnesota, was mostly ineffective against Purdue, and junior point guard Heather Cassady said she didn't handle Purdue's pressure extremely well.\nBut Cassady said she expects the Hoosiers to keep fighting hard, which is Bennett's trademark, and bounce back against Minnesota.\n"We never gave up," said Cassady of fighting from 22 points back against Purdue. "This team has a lot of heart, and we will bounce back in our next Big Ten game"

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