Nov. 2, 2007
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IOWA CITY — Lucky 13.
That’s “lucky” as in how University of Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder feels these days and “13” as in the number of student-athletes on the roster of Bluder’s UI squad.
Oh, yeah, it’s also the number of players who saw action in the Hawkeyes’ 73-51 route of Division II Nebraska-Omaha Friday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
For Bluder, it probably feels like years since the last time she had a bench as deep as she has in 2007-08. And, not only is it deep, it is experienced and it is talented.
Just ask the UNO Mavericks. They were victimized by an Iowa team that shot well from the field, lit it up from behind the three-point arc, attacked the boards and protected the ball on their way to a 45-28 halftime lead that was sparked by a 14-1 run to open the game.
No fewer than 18 of Iowa’s first half points came off the bench and all but two Hawkeyes found their way into the scorebook in the first 20 minutes. And, they also spread the love, with no one reaching double-digits in the first stanza.
When it was over, every Iowa player had a number greater than zero in the points scored column. Iowa was led offensively by the familiar names: Wendy Ausdemore scored 10 points thanks to a pair of three-pointers. Kristi Smith added nine points and Johanna Solverson, playing hin her first game since the 2004-05 season, scored eight points.
Jenee Graham led Iowa with five rebounds and four assists. Smith was the only Hawkeye to play more than 20 minutes.
“Incredible balance,” smiled Bluder afterward. “That’s a positive. If we keep it up, teams won’t have the luxury of zeroing in defensively on one or two, they’ll have to honor the entire lineup.”
Iowa’s head coach was also pleased with her team’s committment to the defensive end of the floor.
“It’s been a priority since the end of last season and we had success tonight because we’ve had buy-in. It’s good for the players to see the fruits of their labor. We were exceptional on defense, particular in player (to-player.)”
Iowa dominated where it matters most. They claimed a 41-28 lead on the boards, including a 15-9 advantage on the offensive glass, and were credited with 18 assists to nine for the visitors.
The only thing that slowed the Hawkeyes were the Hawkeyes. They put the visitors into the bonus with 11 minutes left to play. They also got sloppy with the ball in the second half, committing 20 turnovers after having only turned the ball over seven times during the first half.
The Hawkeyes return to action next Thursday, Nov.8, when they host Missouri Western in their second and last exhibition game. Tip-off is set for shortly after 7 p.m. (Iowa time) Iowa will open the 2007-08 regular sesaon Sunday, Nov. 11, against Dartmouth of the Ivy League. That game gets underway shortly after 2 p.m. (Iowa time).
The Iowa-Dartmouth game is the first of two Iowa Football Fan Appreciation games. Persons with game tickets to either of Iowa’s final two home football games of the 2007 regular season – Saturday, Nov. 10, against Minnesota or Saturday, Nov. 17, against Western Michigan – will be provided free admission by presenting their game ticket at the UI Athletic Ticket Office.
Football ticket holders are provided the same opportunity for free admission when Bluder’s squad entertains intrastate rival Drake on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
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