Trish Betthauser admits Kathi Bennett kicked her out of practice at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh more than a couple times. Betthauser was a captain, and if the team wasn't playing to Bennett's liking, well, Betthauser often got the boot.\n"But I learned valuable lessons from that," said Betthauser, associate head coach of the women's basketball team. "I think it's helped me become a leader."\nBetthauser has had to grow into a leader at a difficult time. After Bennett fractured a neck vertebra in a car accident in Bloomington Feb. 8, Betthauser will lead the Hoosiers until Bennett's undetermined date of return. \nThe Tomah, Wis., native has responded to the adversity with quick thinking and solid composure, thanks to her intelligence and motivating skills, co-workers said.\nBetthauser played under Bennett at Wisconsin-Oshkosh from 1988-92, leading the Division III team to three national tournament berths. She then served as a graduate assistant, before becoming the head coach at Hilbert (Wis.) High School and an assistant at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill. In 1996, she rejoined Bennett as the top assistant at Evansville. She followed Bennett to IU in 2000.\nBetthauser said she knew she wanted to coach once she started playing for Bennett. As for head coaching, she said she's only focused on the present.\n"I've been asked that a lot lately, but I try not to focus on that too much because I feel like it takes away from my effectiveness with what I'm trying to do right now," Betthauser said. "But I do feel I am getting ready. I'm getting closer. There are always things that I want to improve and there are more things that I need to learn."\n Betthauser has already established how to communicate with young women, said Frank Mattucci, head girls' varsity basketball coach at Stevenson. An assistant under Mattucci from 1994-96, Betthauser knew when to get in a player's ear and when to scold the head coach for overreacting.\n"When I may have been too hard on the kids, she'd speak up to me in private," said Mattucci, who with Betthauser led Stevenson to state titles in 1995 and 1996. "She'd tell me to take another approach. I would maybe weigh what she had to say. She'd also know when to give them a swift kick."\nAt Stevenson, Betthauser also helped develop Division I players Katie Coleman (Illinois) and sisters Tamika (Tennessee) and Tauja (Illinois) Catchings. Betthauser recruited former Stevenson standout Jenni Dant for IU, but she chose DePaul.\nBetthauser also was a popular chemistry teacher at Stevenson for two years. She graduated from Wisconsin-Oshkosh cum laude in 1993 with a degree in chemistry and a minor in math.\nBetthauser used those wits to make an adjustment after halftime of Sunday's 73-63 upset of No. 14 Minnesota. To contain point guard Lindsay Whalen, the Hoosiers adjusted by trapping ball screens, assistant coach Matt Bollant said. Whalen scored 16 points, seven below her season average.\nBollant said Betthauser has handled her increased work load well. Betthauser arrives at Assembly Hall before 8 a.m. to perform her usual duties such as recruiting, and leaves around 6 p.m. She said she also now takes home game tapes to plan practices.\nShe videotaped the IU-Wisconsin men's game last week to analyze the Badgers' swing offense, a possible strategy for the women's team without senior center Jill Chapman next year, Bollant said.\nAs for the current team, forward Jamie Gathing said Betthauser, who like Bennett stresses defense, is constantly trying to motivate the players, even two days after Bennett's accident for a 79-55 loss to No. 8 Purdue in West Lafayette.\n"She was drawing on the board," Gathing said. "She put a one at the top, and a two on the left-hand side and a three at the right, and a four at the bottom and a five. She connected lines to each of them and it made a star. It was showing how we're all connected."\nWisconsin-Oshkosh women's basketball coach Pam Ruder, an assistant while Betthauser was there, saw that game on television. She said Betthauser is capable of leading the program.\n"With a Coach Bennett-system instilled in that time of the season, the players will be able to play and dictate in that system," Ruder said. "She'll do everything she can for that success."\nFrom the high school level to the Big Ten, Betthauser's work ethic has succeeded, making Betthauser a worthy job candidate for at least one other job.\n"If she wants to come back, she can, and when I retire in a few years, she can take over," Mattucci said with a laugh. "She's a good person"
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