Feb. 5, 2004
IOWA CITY, IA. —With a strong second-half opening, OSU came back from a four-point halftime deficit to end Iowa’s five-game winning streak Thursday night before an announced crowd of over 2,500 souls inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena who braved the Winter Storm Warning and the expected seven inches of snow.
Junior center Jamie Cavey scored a career-high 33 points before fouling out at 1:01 in the second half, but that was not enough as the Buckeyes kept a hold of their lead and closed 93-82. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for the Hawkeyes, who are now 12-8 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten. OSU improves to 13-7 overall and 5-4 in the league.
“We definitely had a defensive problem tonight,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “The second half, we started so poorly, it might have been the worst five minutes of basketball we’ve played all year. At the same time, it might have been the best basketball Ohio State’s played all year.
“I thought they were clicking on all cylinders tonight. They shot the ball way above their averages.”
OSU averaged 50.4 percent from the field, 36.1 percent from behind the arc, and 62.7 percent from the charity stripe before its ninth Big Ten match-up of the year. Against Iowa, the Buckeyes hit 57.6 percent from the field, 40 percent for 3-pointers and 82.6 percent of free throws – a major accomplishment for a team that hasn’t defeated the Hawkeyes inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena since 1986.
After a first half where the lead changed four times and Iowa stretched its advantage out to as much as eight with 6:35 to go with a 3-pointer by sophomore forward Johanna Solverson, who had her first career double-double in the game, OSU came out of the gates with a 16-2 run in the first four minutes of the second.
“It was very frustrating,” said Cavey, who went 14-of-25 from the field and 5-of-6 at the line. “Looking back now, we still don’t know what we did that was wrong. We wanted to figure it out and win the game, but we couldn’t get it done.”
The Buckeyes maintained an 11-point lead through much of the second half and stretched it out to as much as 13 after a 3-pointer by Caity Matter, who was two points shy of tying her season-best 26 points. Matter, OSU’s leading scorer averaging 13.5 points per game, went 9-of-21 from the field with four 3-pointers.
“It was very frustrating. Looking back now, we still don’t know what we did that was wrong. We wanted to figure it out and win the game, but we couldn’t get it done.”
Leading scorer Jamie Cavey
According to Bluder, the long ball was not nearly as concerning as the 44 points the Buckeyes scored in the paint or the 18-8 advantage they held in the fast break category, mainly off of Iowa’s 16 turnovers.
“We turned the ball over and gave them high-percentage shots, I thought, in the first half,” she said. “Again, I think the breaking point was the beginning of the second half when we could never regain.”
Senior guard Kristi Faulkner, who scored 16 points with four assists and three rebounds in the game, agreed that turnovers were an issue.
“We can’t have turnovers,” she said. “A lot of those turnovers we could have used better judgment and more focus. I think that always gives a team a spark when you get points in transition like that. You can’t afford to give up that many points in transition.”
But despite their defensive woes, the Hawks were able to cut OSU’s lead down to four, thanks largely to the nearly unstoppable post presence of the 6-foot-3 Cavey. Yet, the Buckeyes had a riposte to every attempted challenge to the lead. After Cavey put Iowa back into contention with a four-point deficit with 5:29 to play, the Buckeyes’ Kim Wilburn and Matter led their team on an 8-2 run to finish. Wilburn was OSU’s second-leading scorer with 16 points.
“We got to within four but we couldn’t get those defensive stops back-to-back,” Bluder said. “We tried changing up defenses, and really nothing worked.”
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com