Nov. 23, 2007
CANCUN, Mexico — A late surge by No. 13 Arizona State lifted the Sun Devils to a 60-58 victory over the Iowa women’s basketball team today at the Caribbean Challenge held at the Moon Palace. The win improves Arizona State’s record to 3-2, while Iowa suffers its first setback of the season falling to 4-1.
With the game tied (58-58), Arizona State inbounded the ball with nine seconds left. The Sun Devils found center Kirsten Thompson alone in the low post, who made the go-ahead layup with three seconds on the clock. Iowa had one last chance to tie the game. Johanna Solverson lobed a perfect three-quarter court pass from under Iowa’s basket to Wendy Ausdemore, who handed the ball to Kristi Smith, but lost control of the ball on the way to the basket and was unable to get a shot attempt as time expired.
“Unfortunately we had some miscommunication on defense on Arizona State’s last possession that enabled them to score the winning basket,” said Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder. “The loss is disappointing, but I’m proud of our team’s effort. They worked extremely hard and didn’t back down.”
Smith was the only Hawkeye in double figures, as the junior scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the first half. Junior Megan Skouby tallied nine points and senior Johanna Solverson added seven. Junior Wendy Ausdemore, who netted 17 points in yesterday’s victory over Mississippi State, was held to just five points.
Iowa led for a majority of the second half and led by as many as seven points with nine minutes remaining. The Hawkeyes led by five at the six-minute mark, but the Sun Devils went on a 10-0 run, bolstered by back-to-back 3-point field goals, to grab a five-point (58-53) margin with two minutes left.
“Our perimeter defense was solid until we let up some open 3-pointers when we had the five-point lead with six minutes left,” said Bluder.
Down by four with one minute remaining, Iowa rallied to even the contest (58-58) on a pair of Krista VandeVenter free throws and a Smith spinning fast break lay-up around a Sun Devil defender with 29 seconds left.
Arizona State’s Lauren Lacey led all scorers with 19 points. Sybil Dosty contributed 12 points off the bench, while Briann January had 11 for the Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils shot 55.8 percent (24 of 43) from the field, including 50 percent (5 of 10) from behind the arc. Iowa shot 50 percent (23 of 46) from the field, but only made 2-5 (.400) from 3-point range.
“This is a disappointing loss,” said Smith. “I thought we played a great game, but a couple defensive lapses cost us down the stretch.”
The first 20 minutes was a half of runs. Iowa trailed by seven (14-7) midway through the first stanza and then went on a 10-0 surge to claim a 17-14 advantage.
Following an Arizona State timeout, the Sun Devils went on a 13-0 run to grab a 10-point (27-17) lead with five minutes left. The Hawkeyes closed the half on a 13-0 surge, capped by a Smith 13-foot fall-away jumper at the buzzer to give Iowa a one-point (28-27) halftime edge.
“Overall, we played good defense at this tournament and it gives us confidence knowing that we can play with any team in the country,” added Bluder.
Iowa returns to the States tomorrow and will begin preparing for its next competition, which is Georgia Tech Wednesday in the first annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tip-off is slated for 8:05 p.m., at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Wednesday is “Buck Night” where all adults are admitted for only $1, while UI students and youths are free.