Feb. 24, 2005
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Thursday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena was pretty simple. The Iowa Hawkeyes used the first four minutes of “Senior Night” to warm-up and the next 36 to run away and hide from the visiting Fighting Illini of Illinois en route to a 87-63 route of their Big Ten Conference rival.
The win gave Iowa back-to-back league victories for the first time since opening the 2005 Big Ten campaign with a pair of wins and sent the Hawkeyes packing for the regular season finale against Indiana on Sunday with an overall record of 18-8 and a league mark of 7-8.
Iowa plays at Indiana Sunday in its final regular season game prior to participating in the 2005 Big Ten Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis the first weekend in March.
A victory against the Hoosiers paired with an opening round win in the 2005 Big Ten Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis the first weekend of March should be enough to put Bluder’s Bunch in the field of 64 for the post-season NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
Iowa had little difficulty with the Illini. The Hawkeyes shot a blistering 62 percent from the field, hitting on 32 of 52 field goal attempts including 11 of 18 behind the arc while limiting the visitors to just 35 percent success from the floor.
Iowa broke the game open with 10 unanswered points to take a 18-9 lead six minutes into the contest. That margin stretched to 47-25 at halftime and 60-37 midway through the final stanza.
The Hawkeyes were led in scoring by guard Crystal Smith who scored a game-high 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field , a mark that included four three-pointers. Jamie Cavey chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds in her final regular season home appearance as a Hawkeye. Krista VandeVenter added 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and Jenna Armstrong 10 points.
Abby Emmert also was perfect on all three of her three-point field goals to add nine points to the Hawkeyes’ total.
Tiffanie Guthrie scored a team-high 21 for the Illini.
“We hit a different notch and took it to a different level tonight,” Bluder said during her post-game visit with the media. And, the Hawkeyes did. In addition to outshooting Illinois, the outrebounded them, registered 20 assists, and turned the ball over only 13 times. Iowa also got 21 points from its bench.