Bluder's Bunch Prevails in Tough One at Northern Iowa

Nov. 18, 2007

Box Score | Notes

CEDAR FALLS – Nothing good in life comes easy. Neither do victories on the basketball court over intrastate rivals. Just ask Lisa Bluder, head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes, whose team scratched and clawed their way to a hard-fought 77-67 victory Sunday over Northern Iowa in the McLeod Center.

When Iowa’s Krista VandeVenter sank a jumper with 14:32 left to play, Iowa’s lead over the Panthers reached double-digits for the first time at 53-42. Not so fast my friend! The home team went on a 24-12 run capped by a pair of free throws by Danielle Wubbins that gave UNI a brief 66-65 lead with 6:30 remaining.

Iowa reclaimed the lead for keeps less than a minute later when Wendy Ausdemore sank her own pair of shots from the charity stripe. From there, Iowa’s defense took over, forcing the Panthers into 11straight missed field goal opportunities.

The victory pushed Iowa to 3-0 for the season and evened UNI’s record to 2-2.

Senior forward Johanna Solverson led Iowa with 17 points. Three other Hawkeyes – Megan Skouby (13 points), Stacy Schlapkohl (12) and Kristi Smith (11) – also scored in double figures for an Iowa team that shot better than 51 percent from the field while limiting the home team to just 37 percent success, and only 11 three point buckets in 33 tries.

Iowa also blistered the nets from the free throw line, knocking down 27 of 31 attempts – a success rate of better than 87 percent.

Solverson also paced the Hawkeyes on the boards, grabbing nine for the UI. And, she was the difference for the visiting team in the first 30 minutes. She led Iowa with 11 points – nine coming from behind the arc – as the Hawkeyes rode her hot hand to a 44-38 lead heading into intermission. Skouby chipped in eight points and Smith seven during the first 20 minutes.

UNI’s Jacqui Kalin led all scorers with 12 points, a total that included a pair of three’s and two points from the charity stripe. Danielle Wubbens added eight points for the Panthers.

Iowa spotted Northern Iowa an early 11-8 lead, but went on an 11-2 run sparked by a pair of buckets by Skouby and five points from Solverson to take a 19-13 lead with 13:26 left to play.

Solverson’s second three-pointer of the half gave Iowa a 24-18 lead with just under 10 minutes on the clock. Iowa used a fastbreak layup from Smith to keep the lead at six, 35-29, with 3:25 left. A pair of free throws by UNI’s Lizzie Beck and two more by Megan O’Keefe pulled the home team to within three with just over a minute to play.

Solverson countered with her third 3-pointer with 44 seconds remaining to give the Hawkeyes a 42-38 lead. Smith closed the first half scoring with a lay-up with six ticks on the clock.

Iowa used a 16-10 advantage on the boards to scored eight second-chance points during the first stanza. That success helped to overcome nine turnovers. Iowa’s defense was solid, however, forcing eight UNI turnovers and limiting the home team to just six of 15 shooting from behind the arc.

Iowa’s victory avenged an 83-62 route Northern Iowa handed the Hawkeyes last December in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. That win was UNI’s first in Iowa City and only its second ever against the UI. It also snapped a 10-game losing streak to their intrastate rival.

Bluder’s Bunch plays Mississippi State on Thanksgiving night (Nov. 22) in first round action of the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun. Iowa plays Arizona State on Friday before returning home to entertain Georgia Tech on Wednesday, Nov. 28, in the first-ever Big Ten-ACC Challenge. That game is also “Buck Night” – the UI’s annual event where admission for adults is only $1 and boys and girls high school aged and younger are admitted free.

Click HERE for Big Ten Network home page.