Nov. 21, 2003
IOWA CITY, IA. — After center Jamie Cavey scored six points in the first five minutes, she knew that Friday night’s first regular-season game would be different from all others.
Cavey went 11-of-13 to score a personal-best 26 points and had four assists and one steal as Iowa crushed Butler 83-60 in the first round of the KCRG-TV 9 Hawkeye Challenge tournament.
“After you hit a few shots in a row, you feel a lot more confident and you feel you can make any shot you shoot,” said the 6-foot-3 junior. “My big thing is if I make my first shot, it gives me ten times more confidence.
“We had great passes at the beginning of the game, and that just really put me on a roll and made me confident that I could take a shot if I needed to.”
“My big thing is if I make my first shot, it gives me ten times more confidence.”
Junior center Jamie Cavey
The Hawkeyes got out to an 11-point lead by the 11 minute mark, but fast breaks, six turnovers and three steals gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead with just more than two minutes to go in the half.
Transition play seemed the weakest point for the Iowa squad as Butler made back-to-back breakaways led by senior guard Nancy Bowden, who went 4-for-10 for 14 points.
“We lost eight to 10 points off of transition in the first half,” said coach Lisa Bluder. “I felt a lot of that was court awareness. We were almost down the floor, but they would have someone ahead of us, and we wouldn’t have the burst of speed to get there.
“So that was a little bit disheartening because we did a pretty good job of that in the first two exhibition games against some pretty up-tempo teams.”
After the nine-minute stretch of uncertainty where the Bulldogs gained the lead, Bluder called a 30-second timeout to refocus her team and design a play that gave Cavey two lay-ups and a lead that the Hawkeyes would hold for the remainder of the game.
“I think we took some bad and hurried shots in that nine-minute stretch,” Bluder said. “We got away from our offense. But I think if we continue to run our offense, we should be OK.”
Iowa managed to snap the first-half funk, though, and came back with five steals and three blocks to hold the Bulldogs to just 23 points. The Hawkeyes also managed 22 boards in the second half.
Iowa had a 52.2 percentage from the field for the game and had three other players in double figures aside from Cavey. Senior Jennie Lillis added 15 points and sophomores Lindsay Richards and Johanna Solverson each added 10.
The high scoring alone gave Bluder reason to be pleased, but the double-digits out of players other than senior co-captains Kristi Faulkner and Lillis also gave the coach reason to be happy. The much-talked about “third player” may be emerging in just the first game of the regular season.
“Everybody knows about Jennie and Kristi, and we just need to have that added dimension to our team,” said Bluder. “I don’t know why we can’t have four or five people in double figures.
“It’s amazing to have four people in double figures and Kristi’s not one of them. You almost have to double take to believe that. Hopefully, we can keep this up and have five people in double figures – that would be wonderful.”
“Everybody knows about Jennie and Kristi, and we just need to have that added dimension to our team. I don’t know why we can’t have four or five people in double figures.”
Head Coach Lisa Bluder
Aside from 10 points, Richards had seven assists, four rebounds and a blocked shot.
“I just try to come out and play as hard as I can,” said the 5-foot-7 point guard. “I enjoy every minute of it. I have a goal in my mind I want to come out with. And I was lucky enough to accomplish that today, so I’m happy about that.”
“I thought Lindsay Richards really led the team well,” said Bluder. “She really ran the game very, very well.”
Richards said that having Cavey at the top of her game opened up plays for the Hawkeyes as well.
“It makes a world of difference,” she said. “It opens up a lot of other options. Jamie being the offensive player that she is, it makes other people aware of where she is and what she’s doing. As a result, that’s going to open up a lot of the perimeter players.”
Iowa goes on to play Houston Saturday at 7 p.m. in the championship game of the tournament. If the Hawkeyes win, it would be their sixth consecutive Hawkeye Challenge championship and the 500th program victory.
But Bluder cautions that Houston is a considerable threat.
“It should be called Huge-ston,” said Bluder. “They may be the biggest team we face all year. I think they play very aggressive on-ball defense, and they penetrate very well. It’s going to be a very good challenge for us.”
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com