Feb. 27, 2004
Iowa (15-11, 9-6) plays its regular season finale at Illinois (10-16, 4-11) on Sunday. Tip-off is slated for 12:06 p.m. in Assembly Hall (16,450). The Fighting Illini and Hawkeyes are both looking to snap losing streaks; Iowa has lost two straight, while Illinois has lost four consecutive.
Sunday will be Iowa’s first-ever game on “Leap Year”, while it will be Illinois’ second. The Fighting Illini lost at DePaul (77-74) on Feb. 29, 1980.
ON THE TUBE
Sunday’s road game will be televised live on Fox Sports Chicago. Dave Eanet and Toni Roesch will call the action.
ON THE AIR AND INTERNET
All Iowa games are broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Listen to Iowa women’s basketball games on KXIC-AM 800 in Iowa City, WHO-AM 1040 in Des Moines and WMT-AM 600 in Cedar Rapids. Mark Allen and Karen Schulte call the action.
Fans can also follow the game’s progress with up-to-the-minute stats and play-by-play by clicking the “gametracker” link on the front page of www.hawkeyesports.com.
Iowa has played 843 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 513-330 (.609). That includes a 275-144 (.656) mark in Big Ten games and a 227-54 (.808) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
NUMBER OF THE WEEK – – 400
Iowa has three players that have scored 400 points this season. Jamie Cavey (448) leads the Hawkeyes, followed by Kristi Faulkner (417) and Jennie Lillis (413). This season marks only the third time in school history that a trio has posted 400 points or more. Michelle Edwards (621), Shanda Berry (449) and Franthea Price (423) accomplished the feat during the 1987-88 season. Berry (497), Price (459), Jolette Law (445) and Robin Christian (409) are the only foursome to accumulate 400 points or more in a season, during the 1988-89 campaign.
DIFFICULT SCHEDULE DOWN THE STRETCH
Iowa’s last three games have come against ranked opponents (Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue). The Hawkeyes defeated Minnesota (81-61), but fell to conference leading Penn State (70-58) and Purdue (84-55).
The Hawkeyes are looking to snap a two-game losing streak. The Hawkeyes have not lost three straight games this season. Three times before when Iowa had two-game losing skids, it prevailed with a victory.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT TICKETS
Tickets are available for the 2004 Big Ten Women’s Tournament in Indianapolis, IN. The event is held March 4-8 in the Conseco Fieldhouse. An all-session (10 games) ticket costs $55. Fans interested in sitting in the Iowa section can call the UI Ticket Office at 1-800-IA-HAWKS. Single-session tickets range from $10-$14 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Conseco Fieldhouse box office and www.ticketmaster.com.
LIKELY BIG TEN TOURNAMENT OPPONENT
Depending on the outcome of Sunday’s action around the league, Iowa will likely be either a No. 4 or No. 6 seed. The Hawkeyes could face Michigan State in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game on Friday morning or Northwestern in the No. 6 vs. No. 11 contest Thursday night.
An Iowa win at Illinois Sunday will also give the Hawkeyes a stong case for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
HAWKEYES FALL AT PURDUE
Cold second half shooting doomed the Hawkeyes as Purdue took advantage and cruised to an 84-55 triumph over Iowa Thursday night in West Lafayette, IN. The 29-point victory is the largest margin of victory on the series history.
Iowa and Purdue were involved in a close game for most of the first half. There were five ties and three lead changes. The Boilermakers were up five with the half coming to a close. Freshman Katie Gearlds drained a 3-pointer in the final seconds to give Purdue an eight-point (38-30) halftime lead and momentum heading into the locker room.
Playing in its final home game, Purdue came out firing in the second half. The Boilermakers converted 19-27 (70.4 percent) of its second half field goals, while the Hawkeyes made only 9-28 (32.1 percent) of its attempts. Iowa sank only two buckets in the first 10 minutes of the second half, enabling Purdue to build a 62-36 advantage.
Purdue’s Shereka Wright scored a game-high 21 points, while Erika Valek collected eight points and 12 assists.
Jamie Cavey scored a team-high 12 points, while Kristi Faulkner added 11 points. Jennie Lillis contributed seven points in the loss. After scoring in double figures the first 24 games, Lillis failed to reach double figures the last two contests. Point guard Lindsay Richards and Lillis tied for the team lead in rebounding (4).
Purdue out-rebounded Iowa by 17 (41-24) and the Boilermakers converted 19 Hawkeye turnovers into 28 points.
The Fighting Illini enter Sunday’s contest on a four-game losing skid. Illinois lost at Ohio State (76-57) and home to Wisconsin (59-53) last week.
In Illinois’ last game vs. Wisconsin, the Fighting Illini took a three-point (30-27) lead into the half. The Badgers out-scored Illinois 32-23 in the second half en route to victory. Four of Wisconsin’s starters scored in double figures and the Badges out-rebounded the Fighting Illini by 12 (44-32). Illinois was plagued by cold second half shooting (23.5 percent), while Wisconsin pulled away by sinking 52.4 percent of its field goal attempts. Senior Cindy Dallas scored 14 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds in the loss.
The Fighting Illini have three active players averaging in double figures in scoring. Angelina Williams (16.1) paces Illinois, followed by Tiffanie Guthrie (14.4) and Dallas (13.0). Dallas leads the team and conference in rebounding (10.0). Guthrie ranks first on the team in assists (84) and ranks second in rebounding (7.4).
Illinois is coached by Theresa Grentz, who is in her 30th year as a head coach and ninth season with the Fighting Illini. Grentz is 619-269 (.697) overall and 158-114 (.581) mentoring Illinois.
Illinois is 6-6 in home games and 2-5 in home conference contests.
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORDS
Iowa holds a 35-15 advantage in the series that began with a 62-46 victory over the Fighting Illini on Dec. 7, 1974 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes own a slim 12-10 edge in games played in Champaign. Iowa has won five of the last seven overall meetings, while Illinois has won three of the last four contests in Assembly Hall.
Iowa and Illinois met in the first conference game of 2004 on Jan. 2 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes downed the Fighting Illini by 18 points (91-73), which was Illinois’ largest margin of defeat this season.
Iowa and Illinois have never played an overtime game against each other in the previous 50 outings.
Iowa opened up the Big Ten season with a 91-73 pounding over the Fighting Illini. The Hawkeyes improved to 4-0 in conference openers under Head Coach Lisa Bluder.
Iowa jumped out to an early lead and went into halftime with a 48-38 advantage. The Hawkeyes were on fire in the first half as they shot a staggering 58.8 percent (20-34) from the floor, including 80 percent (4-5) from behind the arc. Iowa finished with a season bests in field goals made (37) and field goals percentage (55.2).
The Hawkeyes had four players in double figures in the game.
Junior Jamie Cavey led the Hawkeyes as she tied a career-high with 26 points, bolstered by a career-high 8-11 from the charity stripe. Cavey also tied a career high with four assists. Tonight was the eighth time this season that Cavey has led the team in scoring and the fifth time she has scored 20 or more points this season.
Seniors Jennie Lillis and Kristi Faulkner added 18 and 17, respectively, while each tallied five assists. Faulkner’s 17 points were the most points she has ever scored against her former team. Her previous high was 13 points on Feb. 2, 2003.
All eleven players saw action for Iowa and the bench provided a spark as they scored 17 points. Sophomore Crystal Smith provided a big lift as she tied a career high with 10 points, blocked her first career shot, tallied a career-high four assists and tied a season-high with four rebounds.
Iowa dominated in the paint as they outscored the Fighting Illini 48-32. The Hawkeyes have outscored their opponent in the paint in 9-of-12 games this season.
IOWA, ILLINOIS NOTES
- Iowa has four Illinois natives on its roster. Kristi Faulkner hails from Glen Ellyn, Johanna Solverson is from Lake Zurich, Morgan Kasperek is from Hinsdale and Lindsay Richards is a native of Barrington. There are no Iowans on Illinois’ roster.
- Kristi Faulkner played her freshman season at Illinois before transferring to Iowa. She has played the last three seasons at Iowa as a walk-on due to transferring within the conference.
- The 91 points Iowa scored in the first meeting are the most the Hawkeyes have ever scored against Illinois in 50 meetings.
- Jennie Lillis scored only four points in last year’s game in Assembly Hall.
Iowa ranks 35th in the latest RPI rankings and 11th in strength of schedule. Illinois ranks 83rd in RPI and sixth in strength of schedule.
Iowa is the highest rated team in the RPI rankings with only 15 wins. Rutgers and Arkansas both have 16 wins and check in at No. 30 and No. 31, respectively. After Iowa, the team with the least amount of victories is Missouri (14), who ranks 36th.
The Hawkeyes have played six games against teams currently ranked in the RPI top 10 (Penn State, No. 3; Purdue, No. 5; Kansas State, No. 8; Houston, No. 9).
The Hawkeyes are a perfect 9-0 against teams with an RPI over 100, 2-7 against teams in the top 25 and 4-4 against teams ranked 26-100. As a conference the Big Ten ranks first ahead of the Big XII and Pac-10. The rankings are released daily at www.wbca.org.
Penn State ranks No. 3 in the RPI rankings, followed by Purdue (5), Michigan State (21), Minnesota (22) and Ohio State (34).
Iowa, the Big Ten’s scoring offense leader, had a difficult time scoring in its last two games. The Hawkeyes played conference co-leaders Penn State and Purdue and posted season lows in points in back-to-back contests. Iowa tallied 58 points vs. Penn State and only scored 55 at Purdue.
HAWKEYES LIMITING THEIR MISTAKES
Iowa, who had trouble turning the ball over early in the season, has done a better job of possessing the ball four of its last five games. The Hawkeyes turned the ball over 14 times in games against Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota and Penn State. Before those four contests, Iowa averaged 19.5 turnovers per game.
HOME, AWAY COMPARISONS
In 13 home games, Iowa out-scored its opponent by a 956-917 margin, shooting 44.5 percent from the field and holding opponents to a 42.7 shooting percentage. Iowa also posted 236 assists to its opponents’ 166. Hawkeye opponents shot a sluggish 66.3 percent from the free throw line in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
In 13 games away from Iowa City, Hawkeye opponents have out-scored Iowa by a 979-954 margin. Iowa opponents have recorded 127 steals to Iowa’s 82 on the road.
WINS, LOSSES COMPARISONS
In Iowa’s 15 wins, Iowa boasts a +11.7 scoring margin. The Hawkeyes also shoot the ball well from the field (.469) and the charity stripe (.786).
Clearly, Iowa struggled to find the basket in its 11 defeats. The Hawkeyes converted only 40.7 percent of its attempts. Iowa also turns the ball over 3.2 times more in losses than wins. Hawkeye opponents have also collected 48 more steals than Iowa in its losses.
IOWA ON PACE TO BREAK FREE THROW RECORD
Iowa has converted 76.3 percent (377-494) of its free throws this year. The Hawkeyes are on pace to break the school record of 74.4 percent (338-455) set during the 1980-81 season. Iowa nearly broke the record last year, making 74.3 percent (512-689) of its attempts.
Iowa’s 76.3 percent from the charity stripe ranks second in the Big Ten next to Penn State. The Hawkeyes are shooting 78.7 percent (210-267) from the free throw line in conference games, which ranks first in the league.
THREE’S A CHARM
Iowa is the only team to have three student-athletes ranked in the top 10 in conference scoring. Jamie Cavey ranks sixth in scoring, followed by Kristi Faulkner (eighth) and Jennie Lillis (ninth).
The Hawkeyes are also the only league school to have three players ranked in the top 15 in assists. Lillis ranks 10th, followed by Lindsay Richards (12th) and Johanna Solverson (13th).
Iowa is 3-5 in overtime games under Coach Bluder, including a 1-2 mark this season. The Hawkeyes’ 87-82 overtime win at Wisconsin on Feb. 12, was their first road overtime victory since a 65-58 victory at Kansas on Dec. 3, 1995 (Iowa defeated Oregon, 89-82, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 17, 2001 on a neutral floor in Salt Lake City, UT).
Iowa’s three overtime games this year tie a school record for most overtime contests in a season. Like this season, the Hawkeyes were 1-2 in overtime games during the 1997-98 season.
The Hawkeyes are 7-5 in road games this year, including capturing four of the last five road conference games (Northwestern, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Indiana). Last year, Iowa finished the season 3-8 in road contests.
The last time the Hawkeyes won four Big Ten road games was during the 2001-02 season (Iowa was 5-3). The last time Iowa won seven overall road games was when the Hawkeyes posted seven during the 1997-98 season.
LILLIS BREAKS CAREER FREE THROW MARK
Jennie Lillis became Iowa’s all-time free throws made leader when she converted 4-6 from the free throw line vs. No. 5 Purdue. The senior has made 409 career free throws. Lillis is also the school record holder in career free throws attempted with 542. Amy Herrig (1995-99) was the previous record holder in both categories before Lillis broke her marks.
HAWKEYES SINK FREEBIES
Iowa converted 91.7 percent (11-12) of its free throws vs. Ohio State on Feb. 5, which is a season best, and 90 percent (18-20) at Michigan State on Feb. 1.
Three of Iowa’s starters are shooting at an 80 percent or better clip (Solverson, .828; Faulkner, .860; Lillis, .825). Jamie Cavey is shooting 75.0 percent but has made 83.3 percent (50-60) from the free throw line the last 13 games.
The Hawkeyes tied a season high with ten 3-pointers at Wisconsin on Feb. 12. Iowa has made five or more triples in 15 of its last 18 contests. The Hawkeyes rank second in the league in 3-pointers made (5.88).
Iowa converted 50 percent of its 3-point attempts vs. Purdue (7-14) and at Wisconsin (10-20).
The Hawkeyes shot a season-low 11.1 percent (2-18) from beyond the arc in their loss to Penn State on Feb. 22. The two treys made tied a season-low.
Iowa has made at least one 3-pointer in 174 consecutive contests. It is a streak that has occurred over a span of seven seasons. The last time the Hawkeyes did not make a 3-pointer was against Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament on March 1, 1998.
- Iowa has not lost three straight games this season.
- Iowa is 9-0 this year when having a higher field goal percentage than its opponents, 12-0 when holding its opponents to 69 points or less and 11-1 when leading at halftime.
- Iowa’s senior class of Kristi Faulkner, Jennie Lillis and Becca McCann won at least one game in every Big Ten arena except Purdue.
- Penn State’s Reicina Russell grabbed a game and career-high 17 rebounds in its win over Iowa on Feb. 22. The 17 rebounds are the most by an Iowa opponent since IUPUI’s Tiffany Kyser pulled down 15 boards on Nov. 23, 2002.
- Kristi Faulkner led Iowa in scoring two of the last three games, scoring 22 points vs. Minnesota and 18 vs. Penn State. The senior has scored in double figures 51 times while wearing the Black and Gold.
- Lillis (31), Faulkner (29) and Cavey (17) scored all but 10 of Iowa’s 87 points at Wisconsin – 93 percent of its offense. Becca McCann and Jenna Armstrong each scored two points each off the bench, while Lindsay Richards drained two clutch 3-pointers in overtime. In addition, Lillis and Faulkner combined for 38 or Iowa’s 39 second half points and 45 of its last 46 points in regulation – a span of 21:36.
- Iowa’s loss to Ohio State on Feb. 5 was its first (10-1) when leading at halftime. In addition, the loss was only Iowa’s fifth (59-5) when leading at the break under Coach Bluder the last four years.
- Reserve Crystal Smith collected 10 steals against Minnesota this year — five in each contest.
- Ohio State’s 93 points are the most points Iowa has yielded in a game played in regulation this year. The Hawkeyes allowed 101 points to in-state rival Iowa State in two overtimes on Dec. 3.
- The Hawkeyes have been out-rebounded their last three games; Minnesota (31-29), Penn State (46-39) and Purdue (41-24).
- Iowa finished its regular season with a 3-1 record against conference teams it plays only once (wins over Michigan, Northwestern and Michigan State and a loss to Ohio State).
- Jennie Lillis has made at least one triple in 10 of the last 12 games and has attempted at least one 3-pointer in 17 of Iowa’ last 18 contests.
- Jennie Lillis has played 40 minutes or more four times this year.
- Iowa played in front of a season-high 8,252 fans in its final home game vs. Penn State on Feb. 22.
- Iowa posted season lows in free throws made (5) and attempted (7) at Purdue Thursday night.
Iowa has played seven games decided by seven points or less, winning five of the seven. The Hawkeyes had six games decided by seven points or less last year.
LILLIS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Jennie Lillis has been named to the 2004 Academic all-District second team. The senior has a 3.51 GPA and will graduate in May with a degree in communication studies.
HAWKEYE DEFENSE COLLAPSES
Iowa allowed 57 second half points to Ohio State, which are the most points it has ever yielded in a game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The previous record was 54 by Wisconsin in 2000. Ohio State’s second half scoring outburst was one shy of an overall record set by Stanford (58) during the 1988-89 season.
SOLVERSON POSTS FIRST CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Johanna Solverson registered her first career double-double, which she nearly accomplished in the first half vs. Ohio State on Feb. 5. The sophomore pulled down 12 rebounds and scored a season-high 17 rebounds. Solverson tallied 10 points and collected nine rebounds in the first frame. She has posted double figures in rebounding a team-best three times this year.
Solverson is the second Hawkeye to record a double-double this year. Jennie Lillis collected her first double-double of the year and 16th of her career vs. Saint Joseph’s on Nov. 28.
ONE AND THE BONUS
Jennie Lillis has attempted at least one free throw in 113-of-119 career games. She is the school record holder for career free throws made (409) and attempted (542).
The native of Urbandale, IA, has converted 409-542 (.755) career free throws. She has made 94-114 (.825) of her attempts this season, including 51 of her last 60 attempts (85.0 percent). Lillis ranks fourth in free throw percentage in conference only games (.839).
FAULKNER ON PACE TO BREAK SCHOOL RECORD
Senior Kristi Faulkner has converted .850 (260-306) of her free throw attempts during her three years with the Hawkeyes. She will break Lindsey Meder’s school free throw percentage record of .799 (287-359) set 1998-2002.
FAULKNER: IOWA’S 3-POINT THREAT
Senior Kristi Faulkner ranks second on the squad in scoring (16.0), first in 3-pointers made (51), attempted (117) and percentage (.436) and fourth in rebounding (3.7). She has made at least one triple in 24-of-26 games this year. Faulkner has scored in double figures in 22-of-26 games, including posting 20 points or more seven times.
Faulkner scored a game-high 22 points (8-19 FG, , 4-4 FT) in Iowa’s 20-point home win over No. 11 Minnesota. It marked the first time she led the Hawkeyes in scoring since posting 27 points vs. Indiana on Jan. 15.
Faulkner scored 15 of her career-high 29 points in the final 1:50 of regulation at Wisconsin on Feb. 12. She also registered career highs in field goals made (11) and attempted, 3-pointers made (5) and minutes played (43).
The native of Glen Ellyn, IL, celebrated her 23rd birthday in style, scoring 22 points (8-12 FG, 3-3 FT) and grabbing five rebounds playing in her hometown in Iowa’s win over Northwestern on Jan. 29. The senior tallied 16 of her points in the second half on a perfect 6-6 shooting from the field and 3-3 from the charity stripe.
She registered a game-high 26 points at Florida International, 22 points at Iowa State and 24 vs. Drake. She made a season-high four 3-pointers against the Cyclones. Faulkner scored a season-high 27 points, including her 1,000th career point in an Iowa uniform, in Iowa’s home win over Indiana on Jan. 15.
Faulkner has made 132 career 3-pointers, which ranks second in career triples at Iowa. She has posted 1,190 career points at Iowa, which ranks 12th. Faulkner is 41 points from moving past Lisa Long (1983-87) and into 11th place.
Faulkner was a third team all-Big Ten honoree last year.
Iowa ranks 25th in the nation in attendance (3,705). The Hawkeyes are the sixth-highest Big Ten team ranked. Purdue ranks fifth, followed by Penn State (6), Minnesota (8), Wisconsin (13) and Michigan State (17). Rankings are as of Feb. 23.
LILLIS AMONG ELITE GROUP
Jennie Lillis is among an elite group of Hawkeyes. Lillis is only the second Iowa player to amass 1,700 points and 800 rebounds (Cindy Haugejorde). In addition, she is one of only three Hawkeyes to score 300 points or more all four years (Haugejorde and Lindsey Meder).
Lills is arguably Iowa’s best complete player in its 30-year history. The native of Urbandale, IA, recently became the first-ever Hawkeye to rank in the top ten in the five major statistical categories at Iowa (scoring, rebounding, steals, assists and blocks). She ranks fifth in scoring and rebounding, sixth in steals, third in blocks and eighth in assists. She is one of only three Big Ten athletes to accomplish the feat (Minnesota’s Laura Coenen, 1981-85 and Illinois’ Tauja Catchings, 1996-00). Lillis will likely finish her career ranked fourth in scoring, fifth in rebounding, third in blocks, sixth in steals and eighth in assists. She needs 31 points to move into fourth place in scoring.
Lillis is a leader on and off the court. She has started all but one game in her career. The two-time all-Big Ten performer, also spends some of her free time at the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics.
The senior ranks ninth in the league in scoring (15.9), 12th in rebounding (6.3), fifth in free throw percentage (.825), 10th in assists (3.19) and 12th in steals (1.81).
Lillis has drained a season-high twenty-five 3-pointers, besting last year’s total (5). She has made 31 career triples. She has made at least one 3-pointer in 10 of the last 12 contests. Lillis has attempted at least one triple in 18 of Iowa’s last 19 contests. She attempted a career-high seven 3-pointers at Michigan State on Feb. 1.
The three-time captain posted her first double-double of the season and 16th of her career vs. Saint Joseph’s (19 points, 10 rebounds).
THE NAME GAME
Iowa has two players with the first name Lindsay (Geoffroy and Richards). The Hawkeyes also have two Jennie’s on its team. Senior forward Jennie Lillis and athletic trainer Jennie Hartgrave.
Jamie Cavey has fouled out seven times this year, while Jennie Lillis has fouled out five times. Lillis fouled out only once in 33 games her junior year and three times in 29 contests her sophomore season.
As a team, Hawkeye players have fouled out 17 times this season, topping its total all of last year (9).
CAVEY IMPROVES AT THE CHARITY STRIPE
Jamie Cavey’s free throw shooting is just one aspect of her game that she has improved on this year. Cavey has converted 94-126 (.746) from the charity stripe this year. Last year, she made 38-72 (.528) of her attempts.
Cavey has converted 82.8 percent (48-58) from the free throw line the last 12 games.
CAVEY ON FIRE!!!
Jamie Cavey, who was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 2, has been a dominant force in the middle this season.
The junior is in the midst of a career season. Cavey averaged 3.7 points per game in Big Ten play last season and 5.6 ppg in overall play. So far this season, she ranks No. 4 in conference and No. 6 in overall play with 17.8 and 17.2 points per game, respectively. She has led Iowa in scoring on 14 occasions this season, and has chalked up at least 20 points in nine outings, including four of the last nine contests.
Cavey posted career highs in points (33), field goals made (14) and attempted (25) vs. Ohio State on Feb. 5. The 14 field goals made are the most in a game by a player in the Big Ten this year. Her 33 points mark the first time an Iowa player amassed 30 points or more since Jennie Lillis scored a career-high 32 points at Penn State on Feb. 10, 2002.
The native or Mechanicsville, IA, headlined the Hawkeyes in their win at Indiana on Feb. 15, scoring a game-high 25 points (8-14 FG, 9-9 FT), collecting a team-high eight rebounds and dishing out a career-high six assists.
Cavey sparked the Hawkeyes to their first two conference road wins of the season as Iowa defeated Northwestern (76-61) and No. 18 Michigan State (78-67).
In the 15-point win over the Wildcats, Cavey collected a team-high 24 points and eight rebounds while shooting 11-15 from the field (73.3 percent). She also added four assists and a steal in that outing.
Iowa recorded its first victory over a ranked team this season with an 11-point triumph against the Spartans on Feb. 1. Cavey tallied a team-best 21 points in that win while shooting 57.1 percent (19-29) from the field and 83.3 percent (5-6) from the free-throw line.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
For the fourth consecutive season, Iowa started its season with a new starting center. Junior Jamie Cavey has solidified herself as Iowa’s starting center in preseason practice.
Since Coach Bluder began coaching the Hawkeyes in 2000 Iowa has had a different center start the season. Randi Peterson was Iowa’s starter in 2000-01, followed by Beatrice Bullock (2001-02) and Tracy Schrupp (2002-03). Peterson, Bullock and Schrupp were all seniors. Cavey is the first junior starting center Coach Bluder has coached at Iowa.
SMITH HAVING BREAKOUT YEAR
Sophomore Crystal Smith has been Coach Bluder’s first guard off the bench this year, averaging 16.1 minutes per game. It can be argued that Smith is Iowa’s top defender, who ranks second (44) behind starter Jennie Lillis (47) for the team lead in steals. Smith ranks eighth in conference steals (2.07), the highest ranking non-starter.
Smith had one of the best games of her career vs. Illinois and Minnesota. The native of Haughton, LA, matched her career high with 10 points, blocked her first career shot, collected a career-high four assists and grabbed four rebounds vs. the Illini. Smith collected seven points (2-2 FG, 2-2 FT), three rebounds and a career-high five steals at Minnesota. Her five steals came while guarding one of the conference’s and nation’s top players — Lindsay Whalen.
Smith matched her career high in steals in Iowa’s last game against Minnesota in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The sophomore collected three of her game-high five thefts in the first half.
Recently, she matched career highs in points (10), rebounds (6) and assists (4) in Iowa’s loss to No. 5 Purdue on Feb. 10.
She scored a career-high 10 points on 4-5 from the field, bolstered by a perfect 2-2 from three-point range at Florida International. She also collected four rebounds, three of which were offensive, and two steals.
Smith scored seven of her eight points in the first half against the Hoosiers and finished the game with six rebounds. Five of her six rebounds were offensive — a career high.
She has collected two or more steals 13 times, including six of the last 10 contests, and has been nominated for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
BIG TEN RANKINGS — ALL GAMES
Iowa ranks first in Big Ten Conference scoring (73.5), second in assists (17.15), 3-point field goals made (5.88) and free throw percentage (.763) and fourth in field goal percentage (.442) and third in 3-point field goal percentage (.365).
Jamie Cavey ranks sixth in scoring (17.2) and fourth in field goal percentage (.566). Kristi Faulkner ranks eighth in scoring (16.0), first in 3-point percentage (.436), second in free throw percentage (.860) and fifth in 3-pointers made (1.96). Jennie Lillis ranks ninth in scoring (15.9), 12th in rebounding (6.3), 12th in steals (1.81), fifth in free throw percentage (.825) and 10th in assists (3.19).
NCAA TOURNAMENT PROJECTIONS
Projections have begun for the NCAA Tournament and www.collegerpi.com has the Hawkeyes as a No. 9 seed in the East Region in its fourth bracket projection. The web site has Iowa playing No. 8 seed Florida in the first round, with the game being played in Fairfield, CT. Iowa is one of six Big Ten teams (Penn State, Purdue, Minnesota, Michigan State and Ohio State) projected, while the web site projects the Big East and SEC (8) and Big XII (7) to lead the pack.
The web site will make projections every Tuesday afternoon leading up to the NCAA Tournament.
IOWA VS. RANKED TEAMS
Iowa has played eight games against ranked opponents. The Hawkeyes are 2-6 against ranked opponents this year. The Hawkeyes defeated No. 18 Michigan State (78-67) and No. 11 Minnesota (81-61) and lost to No. 4 Purdue (84-55), No. 7 Penn State (70-58), No. 5 Purdue (90-79), No. 6 Minnesota (75-61), No. 8 Penn State (92-64) and No. 11 Kansas State (82-60).
Iowa recorded at least one home win over a ranked opponent in each of the last four years under Coach Bluder. These are Iowa’s most recent wins vs. nationally ranked opponents:
At Home: 81-61 over 11th-ranked Minnesota, 2/19/04
On the Road: 78-67 over 18th-ranked Michigan State, 2/1/04
Neutral Court: 80-77 over 13th-ranked Minnesota, 3/7/03, at Big Ten Tournament
HAWKEYES EARN TOURNAMENT HONORS
Kristi Faulkner was named the 2003 FIU Thanksgiving Classic Most Valuable Player. The senior averaged 20.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 2.5 apg in the two games. Senior Jennie Lillis, who averaged 17.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 2.5 apg was named to the all-tournament team.
The honor was Faulkner’s first of her career in a holiday tournament, while Lillis was named to a holiday tournament all-tournament team for the sixth time in her career.
Junior Jamie Cavey and senior Jennie Lillis were named to the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team. It marked the third time Lillis earned the accolade, including being named the MVP last year. Cavey’s honor marked the first time that she was named to the Hawkeye Challenge all-Tournament squad in her three years with the Black and Gold.
“HAWK TALK WITH Lisa Bluder”
Catch “Hawk Talk with Lisa Bluder”, the radio call-in program Monday nights featuring Iowa Hawkeye women’s head coach Lisa Bluder, on KXIC-AM 800 in Iowa, WHO-AM 1040 in Des Moines and WMT-AM 600 in Cedar Rapids from 6-7 p.m. The show is broadcast live from the Chili’s Restaurant in Coralville. Fans can call toll-free at (800) 332-5401 or locally at (319) 365-0600.
Iowa and the other 10 teams from the Big Ten Conference will converge in Indianapolis, IN, for the 2004 Women’s Big Ten Tournament, March 4-8. The tournament will be played in the Conseco Fieldhouse.