Hawks Stop Michigan, 69-58

Jan. 25, 2004

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IOWA CITY, IA. — Iowa was out-rebounded 48-41, Kristi Faulkner scored in single digits for the first time in four games, and the Hawkeyes had the same number of turnovers as their opponent. But guess what? They still beat Michigan 69-58 Sunday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It’s actually nice to win a game where Kristi Faulkner didn’t have double digits,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Sometimes we rely on her so much, it gives the team more confidence that we can play well and win games without Kristi Faulkner in there.”

In a game where momentum mattered more than anything else, the Hawks were in excess, especially with two important runs in the middle of the game.

The Hawkeyes opened typically strong, 6-2, but gave away their lead by allowing a 9-0 run by Michigan, followed by just over 4 ? minutes of offensive inactivity by both sides.

Junior center Jamie Cavey, though, came through down the stretch for Iowa with three layups to close the gap down to one point with 9:21 to play in the first half.

But it took another five minutes before an unlikely 3-pointer by Jenna Armstrong levelled the score at 25, setting off an 8-3 Hawkeye run to close the half 33-28 with a last second layup by point guard Lindsay Richards.

The 3-pointer was Armstrong’s first since Missouri defeated Iowa on Dec. 30. She’s gone 8-of-18 from beyond the arc this season.

“Jenna played some really good minutes in the first half for us,” Bluder said. “That was critical for us with all the foul trouble early in the game. I thought her 3 was big.”

Fouls were a major problem throughout the game, as Faulkner was pulled from the game with two after playing seven minutes. And Michigan’s leading scorer Jennifer Smith was in trouble by the 14:02 mark, forcing BreAnne McPhilamy to fill her shoes.

“If we don’t have Jen in the game, it takes away a very big offensive weapon for us,” Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said. “This is the game we played the most all season without Jen.

“I thought Bre did a tremendous job for us. That was a real plus for us. At the same time, Iowa did a good job keeping us off balance, changing their defenses,” Burnett added. “Our shot selection just went out the window for a stretch.”

The Wolverines managed just 22-of-72 from the field (30.6 percent). And although they were generally able to break Iowa’s zone on the second attempt – Michigan got 19 second-chance points, the Wolverines couldn’t find a rhythm with so many defensive stops by Iowa.

“I talked to our players about not being in an offensive rhythm,” said Burnett, “and that had something to do with Jen not being in there. I thought we had more air balls than any other game in history.”

The defensive stops continued after halftime as well, with an 8-0 run to start the second half, led by Cavey and senior forward Jennie Lillis with layups.

For the game, Lillis had a team-high 15 points and Cavey added another 14. Lillis also had a team-high eight rebounds.

And despite foul trouble, Smith was still Michigan’s leading scorer with 17 while teammate Stephanie Gandy put in 12 with Tabitha Pool at 10 for the game. Pool took 17 looks, with 10 3-point attempts.

“I really think it’s defensive stops. You gain a lot of confidence from them.”
Head Coach Lisa Bluder

“(Fouls) took me out of the game the entire first half,” said Smith. “It’s tough. You have to come back in the second half with more focus and a stronger will to win.”

And the second half could have been successful for Michigan, as well.

As fouls mounted for Iowa after building a 13-point lead in the opening minutes, Smith and Pool brought the Hawkeyes lead down to five by the 15:17 mark.

But Johanna Solverson put in eight points and six rebounds and Crystal Smith came off the bench for another eight with four steals in the game to stop the Wolverines.

Iowa’s bench put in 21 points to just 12 by Michigan’s. And that statistic was critical since Lillis and Cavey both fouled out in the final five minutes.

“I really think it’s defensive stops,” said Bluder. “You gain a lot of confidence from them.”

Sunday’s win caps off a three-game winning streak for the Hawkeyes, as Iowa improves to 10-7 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten. Michigan evens out to 10-10 overall and 3-4 in the conference.

The Hawkeyes start a two-game road trip on Thursday at Northwestern and Michigan State on Sunday.

“We really couldn’t be any better than three in a row,” said Lillis. “Anywhere you go it’s going to be hard in the Big Ten, so Thursday and Sunday will definitely test us.”

Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com