Super-Sup Burns Bluder's Bunch

Feb. 6, 2005

Box Score | Quotes

IOWA CITY, IA — Close wasn’t good enough for the Iowa women’s basketball team Sunday afternoon as Wisconsin downed the Hawkeyes, 88-78, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The same storylines repeated themselves for the Hawkeyes (15-6, 4-6 Big Ten), who felt they needed a win to stay competitive in the Big Ten. They’ve won two of their last eight games in a difficult stretch of the schedule.

But Iowa’s defense let go of the perimeter, its offense had 22 turnovers, and two starters fouled out while two more were perilously close with four by the end of the game.

“Our defense has just disappeared,” Head Coach Lisa Bluder said. “Our shooting isn’t as good as it used to be. It’s very discouraging, but we have to go out well in our last six games.”

The Badgers (9-11, 3-7) were in a similar situation, having won just three of their last nine games. And for the first eight minutes, it looked like Iowa was going to benefit.

No. 25 (ESPN/USA Today) Iowa took early control of the contest building up a 15-point lead in the opening eight minutes with strong post play by Krista VandeVenter and Jamie Cavey. VandeVenter, an all-Big Ten freshman contender, scored the Hawkeyes’ first eight points and had 11 for the game.

Exploiting Wisconsin’s weak post defense, Iowa scored 16 of its first 20 points off layups.

But the Badgers answered with a 13-0 charge of their own, getting the score to within three with nine minutes to play in the half. Kjersten Bakke tied the game, 26-26, on a three-point play thanks to a foul by Johanna Solverson, and Wisconsin kept it close the rest of the way.

The Badgers held a 43-37 advantage at halftime.

“We kept chopping away,” Wisconsin Coach Lisa Stone said. “The fact we got their big ones in trouble added to our ability to make the run and get things done. Our team left it out there on the floor of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and I’m very proud of them.”

“We have to come back. We have to shake it off and win these next games. I think people still think we can do well in the last few games of the season.”
Junior guard Crystal Smith

While Iowa benefited from the Badgers’ poor defense in the opening minutes, Wisconsin struck back at the perimeter, taking advantage of Iowa’s weakness. For the game, Wisconsin hit 8 of 12 3-poiners.

“We were playing great defense in the first and it all went to kaput,” Bluder said. “Our defense broke down and we could never get it back.”

Ashley Josephson nailed 5 of 6 from beyond the arc and scored a career-high 29 points for the Badgers as Wisconsin pulled away in the second half.

“Stephanie (Rich) and Jolene (Anderson) did a good job finding the big 3,” Stone said. “Offensively, we went at them and put them in foul trouble. We were going to the rim the whole game.”

Anderson and Rich scored 17 and nine points respectively.

Iowa came out of the intermission and rallied back from its six-point deficit with a three-point play by Cavey, who went inside, and an equalizing 3-pointer by junior guard Crystal Smith.

That start sparked a 13-2 run that gave the Hawks their largest lead since the 15-pointer they gave up in the first, 53-47.

But Wisconsin didn’t let the game get away from it too much. After Bakke tied it up again with 10 minutes to play, the Badgers held the Hawkeyes scoreless for the next 7 minutes and 14 seconds.

Wisconsin outscored the Hawkeyes by six in the stretch.

“They played hungry,” Bluder said of Wisconsin. “They played harder. The team that plays great defense in the stretch is the one that wins games.”

The Hawkeyes closed the game by sending Anderson and Rich to the line, who turned around four straight free throws.

Bluder said she’s “very concerned” about the confidence of her team.

“It puts us down quite a bit,” the coach said. “It’s something that we’re going to have to work on through the week.”

Smith, who had a team-high 20 points for Iowa, said her team will be able to rebound.

“We have to come back,” she said. “We have to shake it off and win these next games. I think people still think we can do well in the last few games of the season.”

Iowa next plays at Northwestern at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and Wisconsin will host Illinois that night.

Barry Pump,