Jan. 7, 2007
EVANSTON, IL — Lisa Bluder talked earlier this week about her “bigs” contributing more. Sunday, the Iowa Hawkeyes’ biggest big – sophomore center Megan Skouby – did just that and, in so doing, helped Bluder’s Bunch to a 63-61 victory over Northwestern.
The 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year scored Iowa’s final eight points and a game-high and season-high 25 points. Skouby also grabbed a team-high and career-best nine rebounds – seven on the defensive end of the floor – in 29 minutes of action. Skouby’s previous scoring high this season was a 22-point effort against Quinnipac.
“We did a better job of getting the ball inside to Megan, who was having a nice day shooting for us. We also did a better job of getting to the free throw line after only attempting two in the first half,” Bluder said.
“It was nice to see Megan rebound the way she did today. We saw fire in her crashing the boards and hopefully this game will give her confidence going into Thursday night’s game at Indiana.”
Wendy Ausdemore chipped in 13 and Kristi Smith 11 for the Hawkeyes. A.J. Glasauer led Northwestern with 17 points. Melissa Miller added 16 including a jumper with 49 seconds left to play that pulled the Wildcats to within two.
And, when Krista VandeVenter’s missed layup was rebounded by NU’s Kristin Cartwright with 20 ticks left on the clock, it looked as if the Hawkeyes’ 10th win of the season and second Big Ten victory was in jeopardy. However, Iowa’s defense stiffened and Beth Marshall’s jumper at the buzzer didn’t drop.
Skouby gave Iowa a 57-56 lead when she sank a short jumper with 3:07 to play. She gave Iowa a 59-57 margin when she dropped a pair of free throws with 2:43 left on the clock and pushed the Hawkeyes’ lead to 61-57 when she dropped in a layup with 1:52 left.
Skouby’s final bucket came at the 1:12 mark and it was in response to a short jumper by NU’s Miller.
Iowa’s defense forced 15 Northwestern turnovers and limited the home team to just 39 percent success from the field. The Hawkeyes shot better from the field (43 percent) and from the line (80 percent to 71 percent) to overcome a slight Northwestern advantage on the boards.
The Hawkeyes also continued to feed off the energy of their floor leaders, Smith. The point guard dropped five of her 10 field goal attempts, was credited with five assists, grabbed three rebounds and registered one blocked shot in 37 minutes of action.
The win pushed Iowa’s overall record to 10-7 and evened its Big Ten mark to 2-2. The Hawkeyes’ next game is Thursday night at Indiana. Northwestern fell to 6-10 and 0-3, respectively.
“Any time you get a road win in the Big Ten, it’s good. I thought we played better in the second half after a flat first half. Our players did a good job of playing through a sluggish first half on the road,” said Bluder.