LEXINGTON, Ky. – IndyStar Indiana Girls All-Stars coach Eric Thornton could tell by the extra bounce in Ana Owens’ step that she was going to have a good game.
“My parents traveled 3 1/2 hours to get here,” Owens said. “I didn’t want to waste their time. I didn’t want to waste the coaches’ time. We didn’t travel this far just to lose. So I had to bring it.”
The 5-6 Lawrence North point guard scored 26 points to propel Indiana to an 83-70 victory over Kentucky on Friday night at Transylvania University’s Clive Beck Center. The teams play again at 5 p.m. today at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Owens, who will play for the University of Cincinnati next season, hit 9-of-15 shots.
“I just had to keep my confidence up,” Owens said. “Sometimes I get down on myself, but coach tells me to get back in flow with the game.”
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Owens was 3-of-4 from the 3-point line and 5-of-7 from the free throw line.
“She can pull up on a dime or she can get to the rim,” said Thornton, Norwell High School’s coach. “She is just so skilled. She sees the floor well.”
IndyStar Miss Basketball Whitney Jennings scored 21 points, hitting 3-of-5 3-pointers and all eight free throws. The 5-5 Iowa-bound point guard often played at the same time as Owens.
“With she and Whitney out there together, it is sort of a two-headed monster,” Thornton said. “They’ve gone against each other in practice since the start. It’s been so competitive. There’ve been some hard fouls. They go against each other hard, but they are sure enjoying playing together.”
Jennings said the practice battles have brought out the best in both of them.
“Her quickness is unbelievable,” Jennings said.
Owens said she is taking the advantage of the opportunity to go against Jennings, who averaged 32 points as a Logansport senior.
“She’s probably not seen a guard as fast as me and I’ve never seen a guard who can score as much as her,” Owens said. “I love playing against her. We go at it in practice, but once we get together as a team, we’re like sisters.”
As a team, Indiana hit 10-of-14 from the 3-point line while Kentucky was 4-of-24.
Indiana saw a 22-point lead (67-45) with 10:30 left in the game cut to eight points at 70-62.
“They put the 2-2-1 on and we had a couple of lazy passes and didn’t reverse the basketball,” Thornton said. “You kind of have to play against that and then adjust to it. After that, I thought we did a better job against their pressure.”
Owens said she wasn’t worried when Kentucky closed the gap.
“I knew we would pick up the defense,” Owens said. “We just slacked off for a few seconds but we got back at it. We wanted this game really bad.”
Owens’ former Lawrence North teammate Destiny Washington (Loyola) added nine points and six rebounds.
Ben Davis forward Danielle Cuttino, who will play volleyball for Purdue, had a team-high 10 rebounds.
Indiana was hurt by 29 turnovers, 13 more than Kentucky. Jennings had a team-high six turnovers.
“I had too many unforced turnovers, so hopefully (today) that gets a little better,” Jennings said.
Kentucky coach Jennifer Parsons was pleased her team didn’t quit.
“The stat that killed us is we gave up too many looks at the 3-point line, and they were converting,” Parsons said. “Owens and Jennings were able to do way too much. We knew they were good coming in. We’ve got to do a better job defensively, especially on those two as far as them controlling the tempo of the game.”
Call Star reporter Mark Ambrogi at (317) 444-6047. Follow him on Twitter: @mark_ambrogi.
INDIANA ALL-STARS 83
KENTUCKY ALL-STARS 70
INDIANA ALL-STARS — Whitney Jennings 5-10 8-8 21, Maura Muensterman 2-4 0-2 6, Alex Hochstedler 1-2 2-2 4, Lauren Whitlatch 0-0 0-0 0, Sydney Buck 1-2 0-0 3, Destiny Washington 4-8 1-2 9, Tayler Goodall 0-1 0-0 0, Kayla Brown 1-1 0-0 2, Danielle Cuttino 1-4 1-2 3, Ana Owens 9-16 5-7 26, Kindell Fincher 2-6 4-6 9, Erica Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Caroline Buhr 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 26-57 21-29 83.
KENTUCKY ALL-STARS — Ivy Brown 5-19 0-0 10, Danielle Lawrence 4-11 3-4 13, Brooke Todd 0-1 0-0 0, Jamie Castle 0-2 0-0 0, Abby Owings 1-2 2-2 5, Essence Gray 0-3 0-0 0, Raven Merriweather 1-5 0-0 2, Javonna Layfield 7-12 4-4 18, Eriel McKee 4-11 4-6 12, Makenzie Cann 3-11 0-0 7, Sarah Cooley 0-4 1-2 1, Shalika Smith 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 26-84 14-18 70.
Halftime: Indiana All-Stars 42-35. 3-point goals: Indiana All-Stars 10 (Jennings 3, Owens 3, Muensterman 2, Buck, Fincher); Kentucky All-Stars 4 (Lawrence 2, Owings, Cann).