GIRLS BASKETBALL

State's third-best scorer brings skills to Civic Center

2013-01-01T00:00:00Z 2013-01-01T22:19:04Z State's third-best scorer brings skills to Civic CenterHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com
January 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Where Whitney Jennings goes, a crowd seems to follow.

"The word is getting out about her," Logansport girls basketball coach Jerry Hoover said. "This year, every place we go, we set a record (for fans) at that place.

"The last game at home, we had at least 3,000 people there. We went to Anderson, and I think there was 1,500, but a normal game is 100. The word is out, and so everywhere we go, there's people coming."

Hoover, a former Lake Central boys basketball coach, is excited to return to the region and bring his crowd-pleasing point guard with him. Logansport is slated to play at 4:30 p.m. today against E.C. Central in the Times Region Roundball Rumble at the Hammond Civic Center.

Jennings is happy the crowds come. Just a junior, she committed to Iowa before the start of the season and is anticipating playing before packed arenas for a while.

"I love playing in front of big crowds," Jennings said. "The past few years, we've had a great support system at Logansport. They've been coming out to games and supporting us everywhere.

"It's cool that people support us so much in the town and the community. I don't feel the pressure. I go out and play my game."

Jennings' game had the attention of coaches across the country quickly. Before committing to Iowa, Jennings was pursued by Purdue, Indiana, Ball State, Indiana State, Butler, Texas Tech and Wake Forest. Averaging 24.2 points per game as a freshman and another 25.4 points as a sophomore attracted some notice.

"First of all, she's a wonderful athlete," Hoover said. "Once she gets a chance to control the tempo of the game, she's very good at that. She's good at slowing it down, and she's really good at really going fast."

In addition to being an all-North Central Conference player in basketball, she's also earned all-conference first-team honors in soccer and tennis since her freshman year.

Her family is full of athletes, she said. Her father is Doug Jennings, whose 1,611 points in four years for Indiana Central (now the University of Indianapolis) is 12th all-time. Her older sister, Rachel, averages 16.5 points per game for the Berries and is a 48 percent 3-point shooter. Her brother, Jared, is on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's basketball team.

"All of my family members, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, we're all athletic," Jennings said. "From an early age my parents put us in basketball and swimming and baseball and gymnastics. It all comes from that. Once we got a little older, we found a sport we really loved."

Her season high this year is 34 points against McCutcheon, and her career high is 40 points, scored against Huntington North last season.

She is shooting 41 percent from three-point range this season.

"I never go out looking to score 40 points per game," said Jennings, who is averaging 24.1 this season. "I think for our team to be the most successful, I need to score, but I need to get my teammates involved, too. When I'm the only one scoring, it's not as much fun for my team."

In her three-year career with the Berries, she's never been held to single-digit points.

"Whatever you're charging, she's worth the price of admission," Hoover said.

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