Iowa Defeats Illinois, 84-65

Jan. 1, 2006

Box Score

Iowa scored 55 second-half points to lift the Hawkeyes to an 84-65 victory over Illinois today inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The win is Iowa’s fifth-straight over the Fighting Illini. An announced crowd of 3,439 watched Iowa’s first-ever New Year’s Day game.

Crystal Smith ignited the Hawkeye offense, scoring a game-high 27 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and a perfect 11-11 from the foul line. Smith tallied 19 of her 27 points in the second period, marking the sixth time this season the senior guard has netted 20 points or more. Smith also collected seven rebounds, four steals and two assists.

Iowa received another solid effort from its freshmen class today as the newcomers contributed a combined 32 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.

Smith’s perfect 11-11 shooting performance from the charity stripe tied a school record for free throw percentage in a game.

“This was a great way for us to start 2006,” said Head Coach Lisa Bluder. “I thought Wendy Ausdemore might have had her break-out game today. Nicole played big minutes today at the five posiution and did a great job. And Crystal had another incredible basketball game for us. She was very emotional during an early timeout when we were down early and Crystal and the rest of the team really responded.”

Sophomore Krista VandeVenter had another big game for the Hawkeyes, scoring all 13 of her points in the second period and also posting game bests in rebounding (7) and assists (6) in 36 minutes of action. The six assists matched a career high for VandeVenter. Freshman Nicole VanderPol played 18 crucial minutes, scoring four points and grabbing four rebounds.

Illinois (8-4, 1-1) started the game on fire, draining seven of its 12 field goal attempts in the first six minutes to grab a commanding 17-2 advantage. Iowa turned the ball over six times in the first six minutes, with the Fighting Illini converting those miscues into eight points.

The Hawkeyes started the contest ice-cold from the floor, missing six of their first seven field goal attempts. Iowa regained its shooting touch later in the period, as a Wendy Ausdemore 3-pointer capped an Iowa 11-0 run to tie the contest at 23 with 3:59 left. Ausdemore scored 11 of her career-high 14 points in the first stanza.

Iowa (8-5, 1-1) silenced Illinois starter Janelle Hughes for the first 17:30 minutes, but the senior guard scored the Fighting Illini’s final nine points on four-straight possessions of the first half to help give Illinois a six-point (34-29) halftime advantage.

Crystal Smith sparked a 17-2 scoring run in the second half to help give the Hawkeyes a 55-45 advantage with 11:30 left in the game. Smith netted nine of the 17 points during the scoring run. Illinois had a scoring drought that spanned 4:10 during the scoring run.

Illinois’ Erin Wigley and Hughes each scored 20 points to lead Illinois. Audrey Tabon pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Fighting Illini.

The Hawkeyes improve to 20-2 against Illinois in games played inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Overall, Iowa improves to 39-15 against the Fighting Illini, including winning 33 of the last 38 meetings.

Today’s win is only Iowa’s second win in six tries when trailing at the half. Additionally, Iowa improves to 6-0 when out-rebounding its opponents as the Hawkeyes had a +12 rebounding edge over Illinois today. Iowa is also 5-1 in conference home openers under Coach Bluder.

Iowa returns to action Thursday when it travels to Michigan (6-8, 0-2). Tip-off is slated for 6:05 p.m. (CST) at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.