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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Coach celebrates 40th win at IU

In the 1970's, women's basketball was an entirely different ballgame. Head coach at the time, Bea Gorton was the fastest to reach the 40-win plateau in just 46 games. This weekend women's head coach Kathi Bennett became the second fastest coach to reach the 40-win plateau and accomplished the feat in 65 games.\nBennett wasn't aware it was her 40th win Tuesday night in Alaska when the team defeated Eastern Kentucky 61-49.\nSome members on the team weren't surprised that Bennett had won 40 games so fast.\n"She just cares so much, genuinely for everyone," senior Jamie Gathing said. "She's a great coach overall."\nGathing said she knows Bennett attributes much of her success to her support staff, and if it weren't for the support staff, her job would be a lot tougher.\nSenior Jill Hartman said she noticed Bennett's approach and confidence when it comes to being a basketball coach.\n"I think she is different because of her defense focus," Hartman said. "It's different than any other team, and that's what sets her apart."\nBennett's knowledge of the game doesn't go unnoticed by her players. Hartman said Bennett is inspirational and prepares the team well before every game.\nOnce again not taking all the credit for her wins, Bennett said she thinks that good players are what help make a good coach.\n"They've got to buy into your system," Bennett said. "They've got to believe in how you're going to play; they've got to buy in and do it."\nBennett's favorite IU memory is a toss up between two games from the previous years. \n"Winning the Big Ten Tournament last year against Penn State was really special to me," Bennett said. "Actually, my very first game at IU against Washington was pretty special too."\nThe Washington game in November 2000 was the first overtime win for Bennett. A three-pointer at the buzzer helped the Hoosiers defeat the Washington Huskies 77-74. Bennett said it's a win she'll never forget.\nAlaska was full of ups and downs for the Hoosiers. While Bennett celebrated her 40th win in Alaska, she said she's most concerned about where the team is mentally for the games to come.\n"You have to work just as hard mentally as you do physically," Bennett said. "They have to learn how to do both."\nPart of Bennett's winning strategy is to hold the team accountable for their mental game. She does this with repetition until they grasp the concept. Gathing said she likes the fact that Bennett isn't even always concerned with just winning.\n"Overall she wants us as people to do well in life, not just on the court," Gathing said. " That's good because basketball isn't just about winning on the court; it's about life too"

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