Bluder's Squad Tops Southern Illinois

Nov. 19, 2004

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One down, a few more to go before March Madness strikes.

Coach Lisa Bluder’s Iowa women’s basketball team opened its 2004-05 season with a 66-50 victory over Southern Illinois Friday before a crowd of 3,233 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa will play Missouri at 1 p.m., Saturday, in the championship game of the 2004 KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge.

The win was slow in the making. The Hawkeyes scored just 26 points in a lackluster first half that saw Iowa shoot just 36 percent from the field and the visiting Salukis fire at a 24 percent clip en route to just 16 points.

Iowa stepped it up in the second stanza, however, shooting a blistering 62 percent, putting 40 points on the board and cruising to its fifth-straight season-opening victory under Bluder.

“I thought we played a lot better in the second half,” Bluder said afterward. “I thought maybe we were a little too excited to begin the game. We made a few mental errors and didn’t take our time running the offense.”

Iowa outscored Southern Illinois 23-8 in the first seven minutes of the second half to put the game away. Those points came from four different Hawkeyes including Johanna Solverson, who scored a team-high 16 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the field that included four three-point buckets. She also contributed a game-high six steals.

“Jo obviously had a nice shooting night. That’s a fun feeling (when they’re all dropping) and I also love the six steals she came up with,” said Bluder.

“It felt good. You want to have the ball in your hands and create. You have to make them respect you and take the shot,” Iowa’s talented junior said.

Iowa also got 12 points from Jamie Cavey, nine points and a game-high seven rebounds from Krista VandeVenter, and nine points five rebounds and three steals from Crystal Smith.

The Salukies were paced by Danette Jones’ 22 points. Daphney Desamours chipped in 12 points for the visitors.

Iowa had a commanding 42-32 edge on the boards and limited the visitors to just 33 percent from the field and a dismal 7-of-29 from behind the three-point arc.

The Hawkeyes did commit 20 turnovers, but countered with 22 assists and 12 steals.

Iowa will play Missouri at 1 p.m. Saturday in the championship game of the 2004 KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge. The Tigers defeated Northern Illinois, 68-61, earlier on Friday.