Iowa women open with a victory in Cancun

Nov. 22, 2007

Box Score | Notes

CANCUN, Mexico — Wendy Ausdemore posted a double-double and the University of Iowa out-rebounded Mississippi State by 18 on Thursday during a 60-54 Hawkeye victory at the Caribbean Challenge.

With the win, Iowa improves to 4-0 overall and will play No. 13 Arizona State tomorrow at 3:35 p.m. at the Moon Palace Resort. The Bulldogs, who were held 21 points below their season scoring average, lost for the first time in five outings.

“This was the most athletic team we’ve faced and you could tell by the number of turnovers we had,” UI Head Coach Lisa Bluder said. “Thank goodness we won the war on the boards.”

The Hawkeyes committed 24 turnovers, but made the most of their 45 field goal attempts. Iowa made 19 of 45 field goals in the game (42.2 percent), including 8 of 13 from three-point range (61.5 percent). Mississippi State took 58 shots. Another key to the Hawkeye victory came at the free throw line where Iowa made 14 of 17 and the Bulldogs sank just nine of 20 charity tosses.

Ausdemore and Kristi Smith shared team-high scoring honors with 17. Ausdemore was 5 of 8 from beyond the three-point arc and also pulled down 10 rebounds. Smith was 3 of 5 from three-point range and handed out seven of the 12 Hawkeye assists. Jenee Graham had four assists and a game and career-high 16 rebounds (six offensive).

The Hawkeyes scored on their first two second-half possessions on buckets by Ausdemore and Smith, building an eight-point cushion (29-21) and forcing Mississippi State to call timeout.

Iowa built a 12-point (43-31) lead with 11:30 left in regulation, but the Lady Bulldogs went on a 13-2 run to cut the Hawkeyes advantage down to one (45-44) at the eight-minute media timeout.

Leading by one, Iowa made three 3-pointers and a layup on four consecutive trips down the floor to go on an 11-2 run, reestablishing a nine-point lead (56-47) with 4:30 left.

“That was a crucial run for us being able to knock down three 3-pointers and scoring a fast break layup to rebuild our lead,” said Ausdemore, who made two of the three treys during that stretch.

Bluder said that she felt it was important for Iowa to turn the game into a half-court affair and that helped hold the Bulldogs to 54 points, despite their season average entering the game of 75.5. She was also pleased with Iowa’s help-side defense.

“Graham was unbelievable with those 16 rebounds,” Bluder said. “We did an outstanding job keeping them off the glass.”

Iowa led the lightning-quick Bulldogs 25-21 at halftime. The Hawkeyes netted 21 second-chance points and scored 15 points off turnovers. Iowa led by 12 points with 11:34 left in the game.

Krista VandeVenter also scored in double figures for Iowa with 10. She made 6 of 8 free throws.

“We focused all week on our rebounding and I believe that, along with our efficient free throw shooting, won us the game today,” Ausdemore added.

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