Jan. 27, 2005
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IOWA CITY, IA — Iowa held off a late charge by unranked Michigan to edge the Wolverines, 71-63, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday night.
The victory was the second in a six-game stretch for the Hawkeyes (15-4, 4-4 Big Ten), who fell out of the top 25 rankings earlier this week. The stretch included losses to two top-10 ranked teams on the road.
“I thought we got back on track tonight,” Head Coach Lisa Bluder said. “The win feels good, and I thought we were in control of the game for most of the game.”
Iowa jetted out to a 12-2 lead in the opening five minutes, capped off by a fast break by junior Crystal Smith off a steal by freshman forward Krista VandeVenter.
The Hawkeyes went on another 12-2 run in the final five minutes of the half, helped along by back-to-back 3-pointers by Smith, to hold a 16-point advantage at halftime.
Smith had a team-high 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting to pace the Hawkeyes.
“I was having more fun,” Smith said. “The team was motivated and it motivates me to do better.”
Center Jamie Cavey put in 14 points as Iowa scored 32 points in the paint.
“Iowa did a good job of getting inside,” Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said. “I was disappointed with the way we came out.”
The Wolverines (5-14, 1-7) shot 8-of-30 in the first half compared to 47 percent by Iowa, which had a balanced scoring attack.
The Hawkeyes had 23 points from the bench and everyone on the Hawkeye roster put in double-digit minutes for the first time this season.
“Team wins are fun to have,” Reedy said. “Coming off Purdue, it was a tough loss. We needed the win to get back on track, and it felt good today.
“The attitude in the locker room was very positive after the game, and I think we’re all on the right track and are ready to keep this going,” Reedy added.
If the first half was just the right prescription for the Hawkeyes, however, the second brought them back to Earth.
After the intermission, Iowa got a quick two baskets to take their biggest lead of the night, 43-23.
“Team wins are fun to have. Coming off Purdue, it was a tough loss. We needed the win to get back on track, and it felt good today.”
Iowa’s Tiffany Reedy
But Michigan got a run midway through the second half to cut Iowa’s lead to 10 points, the closest it had been since 7:16 in the first half.
Tabitha Pool, who went 2-of-11 for six points in the first half, turned it up in the second half and had 15 points. Pool had a game-high 21 for the game with a game-high nine rebounds. Kelly Helvey added 14 points for Michigan.
The Hawkeyes stalled the Wolverine comeback until there was five minutes remaining in the game, but Michigan’s full-court press kept Iowa without a basket for the last 4 ½-minutes of the game.
In the closing minutes, Becky Flippin and Pool nailed back-to-back 3s to cut Iowa’s lead to five. Flippin, who scored nine points, started the second half replacing Krista Clement in the lineup.
“I was proud of the kids coming back in the second half,” Burnett said. “Becky Flippin did a nice job making decisions about when to push the basketball in the second, but we still have trouble putting together defensive stops.”
Michigan shot 52 percent from the field in the second – nearly two times better than its production in the first half. Iowa kept the Wolverines at bay with free throws by Johanna Solverson and VandeVenter, who both had 6 points on the night.
Bluder, though, was emphasizing the positive from night.
“It’s hard to stay at the top of your game when you have a 20-point lead,” the coach the said. “We have a problem lightening up in defense, but when we have that type of lead we have to put them away.”
Iowa travels to Minnesota next Thursday, while Michigan will travel to Wisconsin on Monday.
NOTES: Jamie Cavey, who scored 299 points through 18 games to go post 1,021 career points, was honored by Coach Bluder prior to the game and given a commemorative ball. Cavey now ranks 20th in all-time scoring at Iowa…
…Robin Davisson, a UI associate professor of anatomy and wife of UI President David Skorton, served as honorary coach on the Hawkeye bench after being recognized before the game.
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com