Hawkeye women seek to avenge last season's loss to UNI

Nov. 15, 2007

IOWA CITY — Phase 2 of “In-State Rivalry Week” for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team is Sunday, Nov. 18, and Head Coach Lisa Bluder said that very little motivation will be needed for her Hawkeyes.

Not only will this be Iowa’s first-ever trip to the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, but the opponent — Northern Iowa — dealt the Hawkeyes perhaps their most embarrassing home loss of the season, 83-62, a year ago. Sunday’s tip-off is 3:05 p.m.

“I’m going to have to do very, very little to get our team motivated for this game,” Bluder said. “I think they’ll be ready for this one. I still see a lot of headlines from that newspaper article where it says `UNI whacks Hawks.’ It’s hanging in the lockers of a lot of players. It’s been a reminder for us all summer.”

Iowa is 2-0 overall this season and defeated Drake 62-50 in the first stage of the fictitious Iowa Tournament. The Hawkeyes play at Iowa State on Dec. 5. UNI is 1-1 with a 72-58 win against Colorado State and a 68-57 loss to Minnesota. The Panthers, who play four straight home games, host Weber State on Friday, Nov. 16. Sophomores Nicole Clausen (11.5 points per game) and Kristin Iehl (10.5 ppg) lead a balanced UNI offensive attack that features six players who net at least seven points a game. UNI starts three freshmen and a sophomore.

“We didn’t play any defense (last year against UNI),” Bluder said. “It’s certainly one of the games our players have had circled. This is one they want to get back. The UNI (winning) streak is at zero and we have to start building on it right now.”

Points will be much tougher for the Panthers to come by against an impressive Hawkeye defense that has allowed just 46.5 points per game and held opponents to 27-percent field goal shooting.

“We feel like we’ve had a nice start to our year,” Bluder said. “We have focused on the defensive side of things and I’m happy for the team that it is paying off. I’m happy with our defense right now.”

Following the game at UNI the Hawkeyes will take flight — literally — to the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico, to play Mississippi State (Nov. 22) and No. 15 Arizona State (Nov. 23). Road games will be an obstacle, but Bluder hopes that senior leadership will ease any distractions.

“There will be a lot of things we’ll have to adjust to,” Bluder said. “I think we have enough veterans on this club, so it will become a little bit easier.”

“We didn’t play any defense (last year against UNI),” Bluder said. “It’s certainly one of the games our players have had circled. This is one they want to get back. The UNI (winning) streak is at zero and we have to start building on it right now.”
UI Head Coach Lisa Bluder

Kristi Smith is leading Iowa in scoring (12.0 ppg) and assists (4.5 apg). Wendy Ausdemore is averaging 11.5 points per game with seven three-point goals and Megan Skouby is averaging 10.5 points and 3.5 blocked shots per game. Skouby has made 10 of 19 field goals (.526) and Ausdemore is shooting 63.6 percent from three-point range (7 of 11). Jenee Graham has pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds.

The buck stops in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 28, when Georgia Tech comes to town for the first-ever Big Ten-ACC Challenge for women’s basketball. Tip-off is 8:05 p.m., and the game will be broadcast to a national television audience by the Big Ten Network.

It will be Buck Night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the annual event staged by the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics that invites fans a sample of the very best in women’s college basketball. Tickets for adults are a dollar; boys and girls high school-age and younger are admitted free.

Georgia Tech is one of seven teams on the Hawkeye’s 2007-08 schedule that participated in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

“We’ve always tried to challenge ourselves with playing a good schedule and this year is no exception to that,” Bluder said. “Games against teams like Mississippi State and Arizona State are attention-getter games. These are games that build names for your program and help establish a recruiting base for you.”

All-time series — Iowa holds a 10-2 record in the all-time series against Northern Iowa, including a 5-1 mark in games played at Cedar Falls. The Hawkeyes have won 13 of the last 15 games against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference.

Bluder has UNI ties — University of Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder graduated from Northern Iowa in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She was a three-year starter for the Panthers and Coach J.D. Anderson.

Outside reign —UNI sank 14 of 25 three-point goals last season during the victory against Iowa. That total is a Carver-Hawkeye Arena record.

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