Local Sports

June 13, 2014

Jennings, Indiana win opener at Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Miss Basketball Whitney Jennings helped set the tone with a fast start in the Indiana All-Star team’s win over Kentucky on Friday night.

Jennings scored 15 of her 21 points in the first half as Indiana defeated Kentucky 83-70 at the Clive M. Beck Athletic and Recreation Center at Transylvania University.

Jennings was 5 of 10 from the field, 3 of 5 from 3-point range and 8 of 8 from the foul line en route to her 21 points. She added three steals, two assists, two rebounds and a blocked shot in 31 minutes.

Lawrence North’s Ana Owens scored a game-high 26 points for Indiana in the win.

“Whitney was outstanding tonight. Ana had a great night,” Indiana coach Eric Thornton of Norwell said. “When the two of them play that way it’s pretty tough on the other team. They’re so skilled. They can create and can get out of trouble. They’re not only skilled, they’re great kids and they’re great team players.”

Jennings and Owens were also instrumental in the 73-71 win over the Junior All-Stars Wednesday in Columbus.

“I love playing with Ana out there,” Jennings said. “We’re both point guards. We both can push the ball and distribute. So it’s fun playing out there with her.”

Indiana jumped out to a 24-10 lead early and took a 42-35 lead into halftime.

Sydney Buck and Maura Muensterman hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Indiana a 67-45 lead with 10:26 left in the contest.

Kentucky utilized a 10-0 run to get within 70-62 with 5:45 remaining.

“They made a run there. We knew they have really good players and they were going to fight back,” Jennings said. “But we kept our composure and we finished it up at the end.”

Lawrence North’s Destiny Washington made a free throw and a jumper, and Jennings’ steal and score with 4:35 to go made it a 75-63 ballgame. Jennings sank four straight free throws in the final 2:53 to help keep the lead in the double digits the rest of the way.

Washington and Kindell Fincher each added nine points in the win. Danielle Cuttino had 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Javonna Layfield led four players in double figures for Kentucky with 18 points. Danielle Lawrence (IUPUI) had 13, Eriel McKee (Cincinnati) scored 12 and Miss Basketball Ivy Brown (Western Kentucky) added 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

Indiana has bounced back strong since its 21-point loss to the Juniors on Monday in the Berry Bowl.

“We had a really good day Tuesday,” Thornton said. “Our practices were upbeat. The kids were positive. They turned it around Tuesday and didn’t hang their heads. Wednesday was a really tough win for us and it carried into tonight.”

Indiana will go for its first sweep against Kentucky since 2009 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse tonight. Tipoff is at 5 o’clock.

“It was a good win to come here and beat them on their home floor,” Jennings said. “We want to sweep them. I don’t think the girls have done that for awhile so hopefully we get the one tomorrow at Bankers Life.”

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