Bluder's Squad Races Past AIS

Nov. 4, 2004

Final Stats | Quotes

Powered by a career-best performance by junior guard Crystal Smith, the Iowa women’s basketball team opened its 2004-05 exhibition season with an impressive 81-74 victory over the Australian Institute for Sports Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Coach Lisa Bluder’s squad took its first lead three minutes into the contest and never looked back thanks in great measure to an offensive game plan that resulted in plenty of layups, dead-eye shooting from behind the arc and a strong contribution from the Iowa bench.

Coach Lisa Bluder’s Iowa Hawkeyes return to action Thursday, Nov. 11, against Truman State. That game will tip off shortly after 7 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa’s offense was balanced – four Hawkeyes scored in double-figures – and wide – nine of the 10 Hawkeyes who saw playing time put points on the board for the home team.

The Hawkeyes were paced by Smith’s career-high 18 points, a total that was bolstered by 8-of-11 shooting from the field. Smith’s game was complete: She also chipped in four rebounds, four steals, three assists and a pair of three point baskets in another career high of 30 minutes of action.

“I thought Crystal played a really nice game for us. She had the most deflections of anybody on our team. We always count on that from her, but it’s nice to see her adding that offensive part of her game, which we knew she was going to do this year,” Bluder said of Smith, a 5-foot-6 guard from Haughton, La., who was singled out by Iowa’s head coach on media day as a player on the Hawkeye roster who could be on the verge of a breakout season.

Jamie Cavey and Jenna Armstrong added 12 points and Morgan Kasperek 10. Johanna Solverson, Krista VandeVenter, and Abby Emmert each grabbed a team-high five rebounds.

Iowa shot 51 percent from the field for the game, knocking down 33 of 65 attempts including half of its 12 attempts from behind the arc. The Hawkeyes benefited greatly from the 24 assists they were credited with. It also played stiff defense, limiting AIS to just 38 percent success from the field and forcing 14 turnovers and collecting 10 steals.

AIS was paced offensively by Jenna O’Hea and Christiana Fox. Both scored 14 points for the visitors. Caitlin Cunningham added 14. Renae Camino snared a game-high seven rebounds.

Iowa took its first lead when Cavey dropped in a pair of free throws three-plus minutes in the game to break a 6-all tie. Smith stretched it to 10-6 with a layup off an assist from Cavey. Four minutes later Cavey stretched the lead to 21-12 with a layup off a feed from Armstrong.

Seven of Iowa’s first 10 baskets were layups.

“I thought Crystal played a really nice game for us. She had the most deflections of anybody on our team. We always count on that from her, but it’s nice to see her adding that offensive part of her game, which we knew she was going to do this year.”
UI Coach Lisa Bluder on Crystal Smith

Freshman Stacy Schlapkohl’s layup gave Iowa its first double-digit lead of the night at 25-15 with just more than nine minutes to play. The margin grew to a high of 11–28-17 – on Iowa’s next possession when Smith sank a Iowa’s first three-point basket of the season.

The Hawkeyes stretched their lead to first-half best of 13 when Armstrong sank a three-point to give Iowa a 40-27 lead with 3:04 to play. Armstrong then hit the bottom of the net from behind the arc a second time two minutes later to give Iowa a 46-34 halftime lead.

Iowa shot a solid 53 percent during the first half, dropping 19 of 36 field goals including four of seven attempts from behind the three-point line. Cavey (10 points), Smith (9) and Armstrong (9) paced Iowa’s scoring effort. The Hawkeye bench was very productive, pitching in 17 points.

AIS’s Fox paced the visitors with 11 points in ten minutes of action off the bench. The visitors shot just 35 percent from the field (14 of 40) and 33 percent from the charity stripe (five of 15).

Thanks to three buckets by Solverson, the Hawkeyes outscored AIS 12-7 in the first four-plus minutes of the second half to take a 58-41 lead.

AIS cut the lead to 10 at 66-56 when Camino dropped a free throw to complete a traditional three-point play with 8:28 left to play. Those were Camino’s first three points of the game and the jumper she made on the front end came after she had missed her first 10 shots of the game.

Iowa responded with a pair of three-pointers, the first by Smith and the second by Armstrong, to push the lead back to 16 at 72-66. VandeVenter added a pair of free throws at 6:18 left to play to put the game out of AIS’s reach.

Iowa returns to action Thursday, Nov. 11, in its second and final exhibition game of the 2004-05 season, a 7 p.m. date inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena against Truman State.