Hawkeyes Host Creighton Friday Night

March 15, 2005

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Iowa (20-9) will host Creighton (19-9) in the first round of the Sportsview.tv WNIT Friday. Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500). The winner will advance to play the winner of the Nebraska (17-13) at Marquette (18-11) game in the second round.

Tickets are $8 for non-students, $6 for students and $5 for groups of five or more.

All Iowa WNIT games are broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Listen to Friday’s women’s basketball game on WHO-AM 1040 in Des Moines and WMT-AM 600 in Cedar Rapids. Brent Balbinot and Karen Schulte call the action.

Fans can also follow the progress with up-to-the-minute stats and play-by-play by clicking on the “Gametracker” link on the front page of www.hawkeyesports.com.

Iowa has played 875 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 534-341 (.610). That includes a 284-152 (.651) mark in Big Ten games and a 237-58 (.803) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa ranks No. 44 in the RPI and No. 63 in strength of schedule. Creighton ranks No. 80 in the RPI and No. 126 in strength of schedule. The Big Ten ranks third in conference RPI, behind the ACC and SEC. Michigan State (4) is the highest Big Ten team ranked in the RPI, followed by Ohio State (10), Minnesota (14), Penn State (20), Iowa (44) and Purdue (45).

Iowa has made at least one 3-pointer in 206 consecutive contests. It is a streak that has occurred over a span of seven seasons. The last time the Hawkeyes did not make a 3-pointer was against Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament on March 1, 1998.

Iowa is 2-1 in games played on March 18. The Hawkeyes defeated Stephen F. Austin (83-65) in 1988 and Tennessee Tech (77-75) in 1989, but lost to Connecticut (86-48) in 2002. All three games were in the NCAA Tournament.

As of games played through March 14, Iowa ranks sixth nationally in least fouls per game (13.6), 12th in field goal percentage (.466), 40th in assists (15.8), 44th in scoring offense (69.7) and 50th in rebounding margin (+4.5). Individually, Jamie Cavey ranks 19th in field goal percentage (.559).

This will be the second time Iowa has appeared in the WNIT. It also marks the second time Iowa will have played Creighton in the WNIT (2003) and second time this season the Hawkeye and Bluejays will meet (Iowa defeated Creighton 91-82 in overtime on Dec. 10 in Omaha).

Iowa has never played 16 of the other 31 teams in the 2005 Sportsview.tv WNIT (Eastern Michigan, Tulsa, Texas A&M, Fresno State, Texas A&M-CC, SMU, Mississippi State, Arkansas State, Xavier, Villanova, Chattanooga, South Florida, St. John’s, Delaware, UNLV and Maine).

The Hawkeyes have played Illinois the most of any other team in the tournament (38-15), followed by Nebraska (6-4), Creighton (4-5), Western Kentucky (3-3), SMS (2-3), Marquette (4-1), Charlotte (2-0), West Virginia (2-0), Arkansas (0-2), BYU (0-2), Florida (1-1), Gonzaga (1-0), Kentucky (1-0), Wake Forest (1-0) and Indiana State (1-0).

The Hawkeyes are 5-1 in games decided by 11-20 points. Here is a glance at Iowa’s record in games decided by…

    OT   1-5 6-10    11-15   16-20   21+ Total    1-0 3-2 6-4 3-1 3-0 4-2 20-9

Tanisha Wright scored 17 points to help Penn State rally in the second half and beat Iowa 68-66 in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal on March 4 in Indianapolis.

Jess Strom had 21 points and Ashli Schwab added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the third-seeded Lady Lions, who advanced to play Michigan State in the semifinals.

The Lady Lions looked to be in trouble trailing by eight points with less than nine minutes left, but Wright took over. She scored six points during an 8-0 run to put Penn State ahead 60-59 with 3:10 left.

Following an Iowa free throw to tie the game at 60, Wright hit a jumper and Schwab grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to put Penn State up 64-60.

The Hawkeyes got within 68-66 after Crystal Smith’s runner with nine seconds left. They had a chance to win it, but Smith’s heave from beyond halfcourt fell short.

Jamie Cavey had 21 points, 10 rebounds and blocked an Iowa Big Ten Tournament record five shots for the Hawkeyes. Johanna Solverson scored 20 and Smith added 16 points, four assists and four steals.

Penn State took control of the game midway through the first half after building a 28-17 advantage. But the Hawkeyes used a 13-0 run to take a 30-28 lead with 2:30 left. The Lady Lions missed eight straight shots and went nearly six minutes without a basket.

Iowa quickly built its lead to 42-33 early in the second half after Cavey’s jumper. Penn State battled back, getting six straight points from Strom to cut the deficit to 49-46 with 9:35 left.

Cavey responded with an off-balance jumper and Jenna Armstrong’s 3-pointer pushed Iowa’s lead back to 54-46.


  • Iowa started its season 13-0, but went 7-9 over its last 16 games. Creighton began its season 12-3, but finished 7-6 in its last 13 contests.
  • Bluejay senior Laura Spanheimer was named to the 2004 WNIT all-tournament team. Former teammates Dayna Finch and Christy Neneman also earned all-tournament laurels, including Neneman being named MVP.
  • The Southeastern Conference boasts the most teams in the 2005 Sportsview.tv WNIT with four (Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kenticky and Florida). The Missouri Valley Conference has three (SMS, Creighton and Indiana State), while the Big Ten Conference has two (Illinois and Iowa).
  • Creighton has three Iowans on its roster: freshman guard Ally Thrall (Des Moines), junior center Amy Hoffman (Carroll) and freshman forward Sara Cain (Cedar Rapids).
  • Creighton boasts an 8-1 Sportsview.tv WNIT record the last two years, including 5-0 in road contests. The Bluejays’ four straight national postseason appearances is a school record, including three consecutive in the Sportsview.tv WNIT.
  • Iowa scored a season-high 58 points in the paint vs. Creighton in its overtime win on Dec. 10.
  • Creighton’s Angie Janis has posted eight double-doubles this season, followed by Laura Spanheimer (4) and Kristi Woodard (2). Woodard tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds vs. Iowa. The Hawkeyes’ Jaime Cavey paces the team with seven, followed by Krista VandeVenter (2). Both Cavey (20 points and 10 rebounds) and VandeVenter (19 points and 14 rebounds) registered double-doubles in the overtime win at Creighton.
  • The Bluejays have made 190 three-pointers through 28 contests (6.89 avg.), while Iowa has drained 136 through 29 games (4.69 avg.).
  • Iowa and Creighton have played five common opponents: Minnesota, Northwestern, Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa and Drake. The Hawkeyes compiled a record of 4-1 against the before mentioned teams, while the Bluejays posted a 5-4 mark.
  • Jamie Cavey scored 21 points on a perfect 9-9 shooting from the field to establish a new school record for field goal percentage vs. Marquette in the 2003 WNIT Second Round.
  • Two Big Ten teams have won WNIT titles (Penn State in 1998 and Ohio State in 2001).

Creighton won its final two regular season games at home vs. Southern Illinois (78-58) and Evansville (72-76, ot), before falling to Drake (61-44) in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament held on the campus of Illinois State.

In Creighton’s last game vs. Drake, the Bluejays jumped out to a 20-8 advantage in the first 11 minutes, but managed to score only 24 points the rest of the contest – a span of 29 minutes. The 44 points was a season low for the Bluejays. Drake out-scored Creighton by 20 (38-18) in the second half. Both Angie Janis (16 points and 10 rebounds) and Laura Spanheimer (11 points and 10 rebounds) posted double-doubles in defeat, marking the second time this season the duo has recorded double-doubles in the same game (vs. Evansville on 3/5/05). The Bluejays shot just 25.9 percent (14-54) from the field, including 18.8 percent (3-16) from beyond the arc.

Janis ranks first on the team in scoring (19.1) and rebounding (7.8). Spanheimer ranks second on the squad in scoring (15.2) and rebounding (5.6) and first in steals (97). Spanheimer has drained 250 career 3-pointers, 11 shy of Iowa career-leader Lindsey Meder (261).

Creighton posted a 3-1 record in overtime games this season, with the loss coming to Iowa on Dec. 10 in Omaha.

Jim Flanery is in his third season as a head coach of Creighton, boasting a 67-58 (.536) record. He guided the Bluejays to the 2004 WNIT title and back-to-back (2004 and 2005) second place finishes in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Friday’s game will be the tenth meeting between the two schools, including the fifth time in the last three seasons. Creighton holds a slim 5-4 advantage over the Hawkeyes. The Bluejays have won three of the last four contests.

There have been two overtime games in the series, with both school winning one. Creighton escaped with a 84-72 overtime victory in Iowa City in 2003, while Iowa pulled out a 91-82 triumph in Omaha in 2004.

Iowa is 39-35 all-time against current members of the Missouri Valley Conference, including a 4-0 mark this season.


    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSIowa    .466    .341    .713    37.4    15.8    18.7    69.7Opp.    .409    .349    .726    32.9    14.0    16.6    64.3

Iowa has out-scored its opponents 956-867 in the first half, 1,050-994 in the second half and 14-5 in overtime. The Hawkeyes have led at halftime in 18-of-29 contests. Iowa has out-scored its opponent in the second half in 14-of-29 games.

Jamie Cavey leads Big Ten seniors in field goal percentage (.559). Crystal Smith leads conference juniors in scoring (16.7) and field goal percentage (.504), while Johanna Solverson leads league juniors in assists (4.03). Krista VandeVenter leads league freshman in rebounding (7.4).

The Hawkeyes went from being left for dead and handed its first loss of the season to registering a thrilling 91-82 overtime victory over the Creighton in Omaha on Dec. 10.

The home team took its largest lead of the game (15 points) at the 13:19 mark of the second half. Iowa responded by going on a 28-12 run over the next nine minutes to take a 71-70 lead.

Leading the charge for the Hawkeyes was Crystal Smith, who scored seven of her team-high 23 points during the run. Iowa also got six points from Krista VandeVenter and four points and a handful of rebounds from Jamie Cavey.

The lead changed hands three times and there were three ties in the final four minutes. The last tie came after Smith gave Iowa a 77-75 lead on a lay-up with 41 seconds to play. Creighton’s Laura Spanheimer made a pair of free throws with 25 ticks left to play to send the game into overtime.

Supercharged by their comeback, the Hawkeyes out-scored Creighton 11-5 in the first three minutes of overtime thanks to six points by Solverson. Iowa successfully snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Iowa scored a season-high 91 points, 58 of which coming in the paint where Iowa claimed a slim 42-37 edge on the glass thanks to huge nights by VandeVenter and Cavey, who took down a career-high 14 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

Smith was one of four Hawkeyes to score in double-figures. Cavey added 20, VandeVenter a career-high 19, and Solverson 13 for the victors, who shot a blistering 70 percent from the field in the second half and 83 percent in overtime.


  • The Hawkeyes won their final four regular season games after going 3-8 during the middle portion of their difficult Big Ten schedule.
  • Iowa and Michigan State were the only schools to have two student-athletes rank in the top ten in overall rebounding in the Big Ten (MSU: Liz Shimek and Kelli Roehrig; IOWA: Krista VandeVenter and Jamie Cavey).
  • The Hawkeyes are one of only four conference teams to have three or more players average double figures in scoring (Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Iowa).
  • Iowa has controlled the opening tip in 18-of-29 games.
  • Iowa ranks third in the Big Ten in overall games scoring (69.7), field goal percentage (.466) and rebounds allowed (32.9) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (.341), rebounding margin (+4.5) and assists (15.83).
  • All 11 Iowa players scored at least one point for the first time this season in Iowa’s big win over Michigan on 3/3/05.
  • Iowa’s bench was unable to score any points for the first time this season in the Hawkeyes two-point defeat vs. Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. Additionally, the bench only produced two rebounds, two assists and four turnovers. The bench played only 17 minutes.
  • Iowa is 11-0 when yielding 59 points or less, 18-1 when the Hawkeyes have a higher field goal percentage than their opponent and 12-0 when collecting more steals.
  • Iowa yielded a school record two offensive rebounds the entire game to No. 2 Ohio State on Feb. 13.
  • Indiana only attempted one free throw in Iowa’s 56-63 victory in Bloomington on Feb. 27. The one attempt from the foul line is a school record for an Iowa opponent in a single game.
  • Iowa is 20-9, marking the 13th time in school history that the Hawkeyes have posted 20 victories or more. Furthermore, it also is the second time Iowa has reached the 20-win plateau under Coach Bluder (21 in 2000-01).
  • Iowa has recorded eight top 100 wins, including three top 50 victories. Twelve of the Hawkeyes’ 20 triumphs have come vs. teams over 100 in the RPI.
  • Iowa stopped Michigan’s seven-game Big Ten Tournament opening game winning streak with a 28-point triumph (70-42) in the first round. The 28-point victory is the Hawkeyes’ largest margin of victory this year.
  • Junior Ebone Pope scored her first career point vs. Michigan on 3/3/05, converting 1-2 free throws in the final minute of the game.
  • The Hawkeyes have attempted 550 free throws compared to their opponents’ 350. Iowa has attempted exactly 200 more free throws than its opponents, attempting 6.9 more free throws per game than its opponent.
  • Iowa’s single-game season high in attendance is 5,753 (Northwestern).
  • Jamie Cavey has scored double figures in 27-of-29 games this year and 53 of the last 55 contests dating back to last season.
  • Iowa has held six teams to 53 points or less (Indiana — 51; UW-Milwaukee –51; Southern Illinois — 50; Northern Iowa — 50; Oklahoma — 47; Northwestern — 40, Indiana — 53, Michigan — 42).
  • Twenty-four of Iowa’s 29 opponents have shot less than 50 percent from the field. Ohio State shot 54.2 percent on Jan. 13 and 57.1 percent on Feb. 13 against the Hawkeyes.
  • Iowa has had more assists than its opponents in 21-of-29 games and have shot more free throws in 26-of-29 contests.
  • The Hawkeyes posted season highs in field goal percentage (.615, 32-52) and 3-pointers made (11) vs. Illinois on Feb. 24.
  • Iowa was 3-0 against teams from the Big XII (Iowa State, Missouri, Oklahoma) and 4-0 vs. Missouri Valley Conference teams (Drake, Southern Illinois, Creighton, Northern Iowa).
  • The victory over No. 21 Oklahoma marked Iowa’s first win over a ranked opponent on a neutral floor since dropping Minnesota (80-77) on March 3, 2003 in the Big Ten Tournament.
  • Iowa is 3-5 in overtime games under Coach Bluder.
  • Iowa’s 54-47 victory over then-No. 21 Oklahoma in the championship game of the Junkanoo Jam marked the first time the Hawkeyes won a game scoring 54 points or less since a 50-47 triumph over Michigan State on Feb. 22, 2001, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

In 14 home games, Iowa out-scored its opponents 1,031-927 (+7.4 margin), shooting 47.4 percent from the field and holding opponents to a 42.5 shooting percentage. Iowa also posted 244 assists to its opponents’ 184 and attempted 98 more free throws (278-180). Iowa converted 75.5 percent of its free throws at home, while only 66.8 percent on the road. The Hawkeyes’ free throw percentage is 8.6 percent better at home than on the road.

In 15 games away from Iowa City, Iowa has out-scored its opponents 989-939 (+3.3 margin). Opponents have recorded 156 steals to Iowa’s 126 (-2.0 margin) on the road. Also, the Hawkeyes have recorded 53 blocks to their opponents 41 away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa has posted 3.27 more turnovers per game than its opponents on the road. Here are the home and away comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSHome    .474    .359    .755    37.6    17.4    17.6    73.6Away    .458    .321    .669    37.3    14.3    19.7    65.9

In Iowa’s 20 wins, the Hawkeyes boasted a +12.8 scoring margin. Iowa averaged 72.3 ppg in its victories. The Hawkeyes also shot the ball well from the field (.482), while Hawkeye opponents have not (.376). Iowa out-rebounded its opponents 792-654 in its triumphs (+6.9 margin). Iowa attempted 165 more free throws (+8.25 margin) in its victories.

In the Hawkeyes’ nine defeats, Iowa converted only 42.8 percent of their field goal attempts and scored only 63.7 ppg. In addition, Iowa turned the ball over 20.7 times in the nine setbacks. Opponents collected 105 steals to Iowa’s 62. Here are the wins and losses comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSWins    .481    .336    .718    39.7    16.5    17.7    72.5Losses  .428    .348    .699    32.6    14.6    20.7    63.7

Krista VandeVenter leads the Hawkeyes in rebounding (7.4) through 29 games. The last time a true freshman led Iowa in rebounding was Tangela Smith (1994-95). In fact, only four other Hawkeyes have led the team in rebounding as freshman (Tangela Smith, 1994-95; Lynn Kennedy, 1983-84; Cindy Haugejorde, 1976-77; Jenni Mayer, 1975-76).

Furthermore, VandeVenter currently ranks second in rebounding for an Iowa freshman (215). She is 22 rebounds behind Haugejorde for first (237).

VandeVenter has pulled down 215 rebounds in 29 games, which eclipses Iowa’s team-leader Jennie Lillis’ 180 in 29 games last season.

Senior Jamie Cavey has amassed 484 points through 29 contests this season. The senior has totaled 1,201 career points, which ranks 13th at Iowa. Cavey is 30 points from passing Lisa Long (1983-87) for 12th.

The Mechanicsville, IA, native has also collected 90 career blocks, which ranks fourth on Iowa’s career chart. Fifty-four of her 90 blocks have come this season. Jerica Watson was the last Hawkeye player to collect 50 rejections or more in a season when she blocked 59 during the 2001-02 season.

Cavey also cracked the top 20 in career rebounding at Michigan State. She has totaled 472 rebounds, which ranks 17th. Cavey is 11 boards from passing Michelle Edwards (1984-88) for 16th.

Senior Jamie Cavey has rejected 54 shots this season, a total that ranks fourth in a single-season at Iowa. She is five blocks from tying Jerica Watson (2001-02) for third place (59).

Iowa’s 14-game home attendance average (4,078) ranks 26th nationally in the latest attendance rankings released March 14. The Hawkeyes are the seventh-highest ranked Big Ten team behind No. 5 Minnesota (8,799), No. 6 Penn State (8,665), No. 7 Purdue (8,484), No. 14 Michigan State (6,143), No. 15 Wisconsin (6,047) and No. 19 Ohio State (5,143).

The Hawkeyes averaged 4,134 fans for 13 games last season.

Johanna Solverson ranks 18th in Iowa career rebounding (395), 13th in career steals (148) and 12th in assists (265). She is six thefts from moving into 12th and 14 helpers from moving into 10th.

Senior Jenna Arnstrong has started the last 11 games and has averaged 7.56 ppg the last nine starts, including posting double figures three times.

She started her first collegiate game vs. Michigan on Jan. 27. Armstrong scored three points, grabbed four rebounds and collected two assists in the victory.

She equaled a career high playing 29 minutes at Purdue on Jan. 23. Against the Boilermakers, she scored all 12 Iowa bench points and they all were scored from beyond the arc. Armstrong also hauled in five defensive rebounds against the Boilermakers, four in the first half.

Armstrong has drained 36 field goals the last 15 games, with 27 of the 36 coming from beyond the arc. The 5-9 guard has drained at least one triple in 14 of the last 15 contests, including the last seven. She tallied eight points at Michigan State, nine vs. Northwestern, 13 vs. Wisconsin, seven at Northwestern, 11 vs. No. 2 Ohio State and netted all eight of her points in the second half in Iowa’s comeback victory at Michigan.

The native of Stockton, MO, ranks 10th in Big Ten 3-point field goals made (1.38) and 3-point field goal percentage (.348).

Jamie Cavey is on pace to break the school’s career field goal percentage record. Currently, Cavey is shooting .575 (472-821) for her career. Michelle Edwards holds the career mark (.535, 777-1451).

Senior Jamie Cavey has attempted at least one free throw in 69 of her last 71 games, dating back to the 2002-03 season. She failed to reach the free throw line vs. Indiana (1/15/04) and vs. Marquette (12/8/04).

Krista VandeVenter has been Iowa’s leading rebounder in 14 of its 29 games, including the first five contests of the season. VandeVenter pulled down 11 rebounds vs. Oklahoma (11/27) and Illinois (2/24) and a career-high 14 at Creighton (12/10). The freshman averages 7.4 boards per game and ranks fifth in the Big Ten. She also ranks third in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds (2.85). The last time an Iowa player led the team in rebounding five consecutive games was Jerica Watson in the last five games of the 2001-02 season.

The Osseo, MN, native has also done a good job offensively. VandeVenter scored all of her nine points in the second half against the Sooners. She also tallied 10 points vs. Iowa State and at Michigan, 12 vs. Illinois and at Purdue and a career-best 19 on 8-11 FG and 3-5 from the charity stripe at Creighton. VandeVenter averages 7.4 ppg. The post player also ranks fourth in assists (59). She has also recorded two steals in nine games.

Iowa’s triangle offense generates many assists. The Hawkeyes have three players who average 2.28 assists or more. Small forward Johanna Solverson (4.03) leads the team, followed by shooting guard Crystal Smith (2.69) and center Jamie Cavey (2.28).

Iowa’s Big Ten portion of its schedule included home-and-away contests against Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State.

The Hawkeyes had single games with Penn State, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin. Iowa traveled to Minneapolis and West Lafayette, while the Lady Lions and Badgers visited Iowa City. Iowa went 0-4 vs. the teams it played only once.

Iowa’s bench play has been one of the keys to its 20-9 record. Iowa’s bench has outscored and out-rebounded its opponents 427-385 and 281-201, respectively. The Hawkeyes average 14.7 ppg and 9.7 rpg from their bench players. Iowa has out-scored 14-of-27 opponents in bench points.

Abby Emmert became only the second Iowa freshman to start at point guard. Prior to this season, Cara Consuegra was Iowa’s only freshman to start at point guard (1997).

Power forward Krista VandeVenter has started all 29 games, while point guard Abby Emmert started 14 contests.

Emmert and VandeVenter became the first Iowa freshmen duo to start since the 1994-95 season where newcomers Tiffany Gooden and Tangela Smith started 17 and 15 games, respectively.

Iowa captured its second mythical state title in three years. The Hawkeyes first defeated Iowa State (89-80) on Dec. 1, followed by victories over and Northern Iowa (77-50) on Dec. 8 and Drake (80-69) on Dec. 18.

Iowa has posted two substantial second half comebacks this season and nearly pulled off a third.

The Hawkeyes trailed by 17 points with 16 minutes remaining vs. Northwestern on Jan. 16. Iowa rallied to win 81-76 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa erased a 15-point second half deficit with 13 minutes left in regulation at Creighton on Dec. 10. The Hawkeyes won 91-82 in overtime in the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

The Hawkeyes trailed by as many as 20 points with 11:30 remaining vs. Penn State on Jan. 6. Iowa trimmed the Lady Lion advantage to two points with 3:30 left, but were unable to tie or take the lead down the stretch. Penn State won the contest 77-71 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes’ biggest comeback under Coach Bluder was a 19-point second half rally with 19 minutes remaining to bounce Indiana (81-76) from the 2001 Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Iowa women’s basketball team will hold its annual banquet Friday, April 8 at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Coralville. Fans wanting more information should call the UI Sports Marketing Office at 319-335-9431.

Iowa enjoyed its best start in 17 years. The Hawkeyes’ 13-0 is their second-best start in school history. Only the 1987-88 Iowa team, which won its first 22 games, started better than these Hawkeyes. In addition, Iowa was the last Division I team to be beaten.

Iowa’s 13-0 start, matched Coach Bluder’s best start at a Division I school. The native of Marion, Iowa, guided the Drake Bulldogs to a 13-0 start in 1994 and eventually advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Guard Crystal Smith has been one of league’s top offensive and defensive player through nine games. The junior was named MVP of the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge and Junkanoo Jam. Smith ranks first on the team and fifth in Big Ten in scoring (16.7), first on the team and eighth in conference free throw percentage (.804) and first on the team and fourth in league steals (2.31). The native of Haughton, LA, netted 20 points or more nine times, which ranks seventh in the Big Ten. She netted a career-high 33 points at Drake on Dec. 18. Smith’s performances turned some heads around the nation.

“Crystal is just an outstanding player,” said Iowa State Head Coach Bill Fennelly. “She’s an impact player on both ends of the floor. I hope we don’t have to play a guard as good as her the rest of the season.”

“I’ve been around the game a long time and Crystal is as good a player I’ve ever seen,” said Northern Iowa Head Coach Tony DiCecco. “She has a lot of tools. She’s extremely difficult to defend because at a split second she’s at full speed. She’s lightning quick and I tip my hat to her.”

“She’s so lighting fast. She has to be the most improved player in the Big Ten,” said Penn State Head Coach Rene Portland.

Center Jamie Cavey has been a force down in the post. The senior tri-captain, ranks second on the team and sixth in the Big Ten in scoring (16.5) and first on the team and third in the conference in field goal percentage (.559).

Cavey has scored double figures in 27-of-29 contests. Furthermore, she has scored double digits in 69 of her last 71 games, dating back to the 2002-03 season. Cavey has led Iowa in scoring 11 of the last 16 contests. She was named to the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge and Junkanoo Jam all-Tournament teams.

Iowa’s roster features five players from the state of Iowa (Jamie Cavey, Abby Emmert, Ebone Pope, Tiffany Reedy and Stacy Schlapkohl). The Hawkeyes also have four players from the state of Illinois (Lindsay Richards, Johanna Solverson, Jeneé Graham and Morgan Kasperek). Iowa’s 12-person roster also features players from Missouri (Jenna Armstrong), Minnesota (Krista VandeVenter) and Louisiana (Crystal Smith).