Illini Out Duel Bluder's Bunch

Feb. 15, 2007

Box Score

IOWA CITY — In the end, one leading scorer outdistanced the other team’s leading scorer Thursday night in Game 2 of the college basketball doubleheader staged at Carver-Hawkeye Arena when Illinois dealt Lisa Bluder’s Iowa Hawkeyes a 74-69 defeat.

Lori Bjork, the Illini’s talented left-handed point guard gave the visiting team a 68-67 lead with 1:19 to play when she sank a three-pointer – her fourth of the night.

On the ensuing play, she blocked a jump shot by Iowa’s Kristi Smith which the Illini’s Lacey Simpson converted into a lay-up for a 71-67 lead and the game as the team’s traded buckets in the final seconds.

Bjork paced Illinois with 20 points on five two-pointers, four three-pointers and six points from the charity strip. Simpson added 18, Danyel Crutcher 17 points and 10 rebounds and Smith 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Iowa was paced by a white-hot Wendy Ausdemore. Iowa’s talented forward scored a game-high 29 points – 18 in the first half when she helped the Hawkeyes build a 34-29 lead that would have been bigger had it not been for a 7-0 run by the Illini in the session’s final three minutes.

Smith added 11 points and Krista VandeVenter seven and 10 rebounds.

The loss dropped Bluder’s Bunch to 12-14 overall and 4-9 in Big Ten Conference action heading into Sunday’s game against Penn State at 2 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye. Illinois improved to 17-8 and 7-6, respectively.

Iowa built a double-digit lead at 32-22 with a little more than four minutes to play in the first half when Ausdemore sank a three-pointer from the top of the key.

The Illini tied the game at 42-all early in the final stanza on a free throw by Smith. The game see-sawed with neither team claiming more than a three-point margin until the final minute.

Simpson was particularly deadly for the Illini. Her 18 points included a pair of timely three-point baskets. She also dealt a game-high seven assists and grabbed eight rebounds, five of which off the defensive glass.