Feb. 27, 2005
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They say nothing worth having ever comes easy. The Iowa women’s basketball team would nod in agreement. The Hawkeyes’ 56-53 victory Sunday night in Assembly Hall didn’t come easy, but, make no mistake, it was worth it.
Easy? Here’s you go….
Crystal Smith’s three-pointer with 5:42 left to play gave Iowa a 44-42 lead. A pair of lay-ups by Jamie Cavey gave the visitors a six-point lead. Smith pushed it to eight with another jumper at the 2:28 mark.
Time to breathe easy? Nope.
Indiana’s Jamie Gathing answered with a pair of buckets to slice the lead in half.
Cavey to the rescue. She dropped one of two free throws with 56 seconds left to push the lead to five. Eighteen seconds later, she was fouled after ripping down a rebound that followed an errant Indiana attempt from behind the arc. She calmly dropped in the first of two from the charity stripe to push the lead to six at 52-46.
Time to breath easy? Nope.
“I think we’re ready for the post-season. We’re playing with more life, more enthusiasm. Michigan won’t be easy, but we’ll be ready.”
UI Coach Lisa Bluder
IU’s Jamey Chapman scored on a layup with 29 seconds to cut the Hawkeyes’ lead to four. Then, after a missed free throw by Iowa’s Tiffany Reedy, IU’s Jamie Gathing dropped a three-pointer to cut the lead to one – 52-51 – with 19 seconds to play.
Time to lose your breath? Nope.
Cavey, fouled on the inbounds play, sank a pair of free throws to make it a two possession game – and Iowa needed it all because Chapman sank a lay-up with three seconds to play to keep it interesting.
Tim to breath easy? Yes.
Johanna Solverson canned a pair from the charity stripe with under a second to play to give Iowa its 19th victory of the season, a victory that evened the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten Conference record to an even 8-8 – a mark that put Iowa alone at sixth place in the final league standings.
Iowa will now begin preparations for the 2005 Big Ten Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis. The Hawkeyes will play Michigan on Thursday in first round action of the league’s post-season party.
The Hawkeyes were led in scoring by Smith and Cavey, who each scored a game-high 16 points. Cavey also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
Cavey’s counterpart, center Jamie Gathing, paced Indiana with 13 points.
With both teams shooting about 42 percent from the field, the game ultimately was won on the free throw line where Iowa made eight of 13 attempts and the Hoosiers missed their only attempt.
Iowa took a three-point lead – 27-24 – into the lockerroom at intermission. Both teams scored 29 points in the final stanza.
“I knew this was going to be a dogfight. They are a very good defensive team. We needed to match that intensity on the defensive end of the floor and we did,” said Lisa Bluder.
“There was a lot riding on this game for us and I was very, very impressed with how our team dealt with that pressure.”
Bluder’s Bunch is eyeing its second straight invitation to the post-season NCAA Tournament. Most think the Hawkeyes will secure their place in the party with one victory in the Big Ten Tournament.
“I think we’re ready for the post-season. We’re playing with more life, more enthusiasm. Michigan won’t be easy, but we’ll be ready,” said Bluder.
A win over the Wolverines would likely give Iowa a second shot at Penn State.
“We kind of gave the game with Penn State in Carver away. We owe them one, but we have to beat Michigan first. First things first,” she added.