Iowa to Host KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge

Dec. 6, 2007

The Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3) will host the 22nd edition of the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge Saturday and Sunday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The four-team field features Iowa, Northern Illinois, Saint Joseph’s and No. 21/22 Wyoming. Ticket prices for each day are $7 for adults, $5 for youths and UI students are free.

Below is a schedule of events for the 2007 KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge. All times are central.

Saturday, Dec. 8
Northern Illinois vs. Iowa — 2:05 p.m.
Wyoming vs. Saint Joseph’s — 4:35 p.m.

Sunday, December 9
#21/22 Wyoming/Saint Joseph’s vs. Iowa — 12:05 p.m.
#21/22 Wyoming/Saint Joseph’s vs. Northern Illinois — 2:35 p.m.

Sunday’s Iowa game will be televised live in Eastern Iowa on KCRG-TV9. John Campbell, Amy Herrig and Scott Saville will call the action.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call this weekend’s Iowa games for the Hawkeye Radio Network. Hawkeye fans can listen to Saturday’s contest on KMJM 1030-AM in Cedar Rapids and KXNO 1460-AM in Des Moines. Hawkeye fans can listen to Sunday’s game on WHO 1040-AM in Des Moines, WMT 600-AM in Cedar Rapids and KXIC 800-AM in Iowa City. Balbinot is in his fourth season as Iowa’s play-by-play voice, while Till is in her third providing analysis.

Iowa has played 946 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 573-373 (.606). That includes a 283-141 (.667) mark in Big Ten games and a 262-79 (.768) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Northern Illinois enters this weekend’s tournament with a 2-5 record. The Huskies have lost four consecutive games, all on the road.

Northern Illinois played its last contest Nov. 28; the Huskies lost (76-54) at UW-Green Bay. Sophomore Kylie York paced Northern Illinois with 24 points and three steals. Junior Aileen Rossouw contributed six points and five rebounds. The Huskies out-rebounded the Phoenix (32-27), but committed 35 turnovers in defeat.

York is Northern Illinois’ leading scorer, averaging 13.3 points per contest. Junior Jessie Wilcox, who averages 9.4 points and 2.0 rebounds, has missed two games this season due to a hand injury and she is questionable for this weekend’s games. Freshman Ebony Ellis comes off the bench and is the squad’s top rebounder (6.4).

Northern Illinois averages only 52 points per contest and converts only 61 percent (62-101) from the foul line.

The Huskies are coached by Carol Owens, who is in her third season (33-34, .493) as a head coach, all with Northern Illinois.

For the first time in school history, Wyoming is ranked in both major polls. The Cowgirls are currently tabbed No. 21 by the Associated Press and No. 22 in the USA Today/Coaches poll. The Cowgirls started the season 6-0 before dropping their first contest of the season Wednesday night at Colorado (69-55). The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak, dating back to last year. Wyoming converted only 52.9 percent (9-17) from the foul line and 27.3 percent (6-22) from behind the arc in the loss.

Wyoming, a team that has been picked to win the Mountain West Conference, has a trio of players averaging double digits in scoring. Senior Hanna Zavecz is the team’s leading scorer (16.1), followed by senior Justyna Podziemska (14.6) and sophomore Aubrey Vandiver (13.0). Vandiver also leads the team in rebounding (7.3). Zavecz, who is a two-time first team all-MWC honoree and named preseason all-MWC, dishes out the most assists (4.9).

Seven different players have made two or more 3-pointers this season, led by Podziemska (16). The Cowgirls average only 13.9 turnovers per contest.

Joe Legerski is Wyoming’s head coach. He led the Cowgirls to the 2007 WNIT Championship. Legerski is in his fifth season as a collegiate head coach, all at Wyoming (81-49, .623). Legerski was hired by current Iowa Director of Athletics Gary Barta. Barta served as Wyoming’s Director of Athletics from October 2003 to July 2006.

Saint Joseph’s, a team that has been picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic 10 Conference, will be playing in its second, of three, in-season tournaments this weekend. The Hawks come to Iowa City with a 5-3 record, winners of two of their last three contests. Eight of Saint Joseph’s first 11 games are on the road. The Hawks nearly won their last home game, falling to nationally-ranked Rutgers (56-50), Nov. 28.

Senior guard Timisha Gomez is Saint Joseph’s leading scorer (11.7), but sat out its last game at Villanova. Gomez is not listed as a starter for Saturday’s contest, but will likely see some game action. Freshman Sarah Acker ranks second in team scoring (10.1) and first in rebounding (7.6).

Senior Amy Wold has started three games this season, averaging 5.9 points and 2.9 assists. She is a Cedar Rapids native and played prep baasketball at Kennedy HS.

The Hawks are coach by Cindy Griffin, who is in her 10th season overall (164-114, .590) and sixth (116-81, .589) with Saint Joseph’s.

Saturday will be the 10th meeting between Iowa and Northern Illinois. The Hawkeyes and Huskies last met, Jan. 25, 1994 with Northern Illinois topping Iowa (59-56) in DeKalb. Iowa has won two of the last three against Northern Illinois.

Iowa is 3-1 in games against Saint Joseph’s, most recently defeating the Hawks (62-58), Nov. 28, 2003 in the first round of the FIU Thanksgiving Classic in Miami, FL. All four previous outings were contested on neutral floors.

The Hawkeyes are 2-1 in contests against Wyoming, with all three games played on neutral courts. Iowa won its last game against the Cowgirls (83-40) at the Hawaii Wahine Classic, Nov. 25, 1988.

? Saint Joseph’s and Wyoming will meet for the first time Saturday.
? Iowa, Wyoming and Saint Joseph’s will all be playing three games in five days. All three teams played road contests Wednesday night.
? Iowa boasts a 37-5 record in Hawkeye Challenge games. The Hawkeyes have won 17 of the previous 21 tournaments, including two of the last three. Iowa won last year’s Hawkeye Challenge with victories over Quinnipiac (93-77) and Florida International (72-62).
? Iowa and Northern Illinois were both in Cancun during Thanksgiving for the Caribbean Challenge. The two teams did not play each other.
? Iowa is 56-28 (.667) in non-conference contests, including boasting a 34-11 (.756) mark in non-league home games, under Coach Bluder.
? Five of Iowa’s first seven games were against teams it never faced.
? Iowa is 5-0 when scoring 60 points or more, having a higher field goal and 3-point percentage than its opposition and 4-0 when securing more rebounds and assists.
? Only two points separate Kristi Smith and Wendy Ausdemore in season scoring. Smith has amassed a team-best 99 points, while Ausdemore has 97.
? Iowa’s trip to Cancun during Thanksgiving week will be its only road trip outside the state of Iowa until it travels to Ann Arbor, MI, to compete against Michigan on Dec. 30.
? Krista VandeVenter recently moved into 10th place in Iowa career rebounding (674). She is only 17 boards from tying Lis Becker (691) for ninth.
? Iowa is 107-13 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. Iowa is 87-17 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 38-2 mark when opponents score 59 points or less.
? Johanna Solverson (847) is only four points from equaling 26th-place Lynn Kennedy’s total of 851 on the Hawkeyes’ career scoring chart and two steals from tying Tia Jackson (168) for 10th in career thefts. Wendy Ausdemore is only five 3-pointers from tying Jenna Armstrong’s sixth-place mark of 108 career 3-pointers.

Iowa State defeated Iowa for the third consecutive time, winning a defensive battle 58-44 Wednesday in Ames. The victory was also the Cyclones’ sixth straight over the Hawkeyes at Hilton Coliseum.

The two teams combined for 102 points, which is the lowest scoring game in the 38-game series history. The previous low was 103 points set in 2002.

Three Iowa junior starters netted double figures: Wendy Ausdemore (16), Kristi Smith (14) and Megan Skouby (10). Smith scored all 14 of her points in the second half, Skouby scored eight of Iowa’s 13 first-half points, while 12 of Ausdemore’s team-high 16 points came from behind the arc.

The Hawkeyes were unable to overcome an Iowa State 17-2 first-half run that enabled the Cyclones to build a 22-6 cushion 14 minutes into the game.

Both teams were plagued by poor shooting. Iowa State shot at a 32 percent clip, while Iowa shot a season-low 29.3 percent. The Hawkeyes held the Cyclones to 14.3 percent (2-14) from behind the arc.

? Wendy Ausdemore made four triples, marking the fifth game this season she has drained three or more 3-pointers in a single-game. Her first trey of the night was the 100th of her career.
? Iowa equaled a season high in rebounds (44). Iowa also had 44 rebounds vs. Detroit last Sunday. Megan Skouby secured a season-high seven rebounds. Johanna Solverson grabbed eight boards and Krista VandeVenter corralled seven. Kachine Alexander snagged six boards for the second time this season.
? The Hawkeyes only attempted six free throws vs. Iowa State (Megan Skouby 2-2, Kristi Smith 3-4).
? Iowa only had two players (Megan Skouby and Wendy Ausdemore) score in the first 25:49 of the game. Kristi Smith finally became the third Hawkeye to score at the 14:11 mark of the second half.
? The Cyclones out-scored the Hawkeyes 20-4 in the paint in the first half and 40-16 for the game.
? Stacy Schlapkohl blocked two shots for the second straight game to match a career high.
? Wednesday was the third game Iowa played without injured starter Jenee Graham. The senior suffered a broken bone in her right shooting hand (Nov. 26).
? Iowa finishes 2-1 against in-state teams this season. The Hawkeyes downed Drake and Northern Iowa, but lost to Iowa State.

Iowa has been without the services of senior guard/forward Jenee Graham the last three games. The Hawkeyes’ leading rebounder suffered a broken bone in her right shooting hand in practice, Nov. 26. She is doubtful for this weekend’s competitions. Graham was scheduled to have her hand evaluated by doctors Thursday. The senior averaged 6.8 rebounds and had 11 assists to only five turnovers through five games.

Last season Iowa ranked last in Big Ten scoring defense (71.7) and field goal percentage defense (.447). Through seven games this year, Iowa ranks third in scoring defense (56.2) and field goal percentage defense (.354).

Iowa has been very accurate shooting the ball behind the arc this season. The Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten, shooting 37.8 percent (37-98) from 3-point range. Three Hawkeyes have combined for 35 of their 37 triples (Wendy Ausdemore, 21; Kristi Smith, 8; Johanna Solverson, 6). Iowa has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range in four of seven games this year, including a season-best 61.5 percent (8-13) against Mississippi State. Last season, Iowa ranked third nationally in 3-point shooting percentage (.402).

Junior Wendy Ausdemore doesn’t get to the free throw line very much, only 1.6 attempts in 67 games the last three years, but rarely misses when she toes the line.

Ausdemore has missed only nine free throws in her career (.918, 101-110). The native of Neola, IA, broke the Iowa single-season free throw percentage (.902, 55-61) and Big Ten-season free throw percentage (.975, 39-40) records her sophomore campaign.

Head Coach Lisa Bluder, the dean of Big Ten coaches, is only 12 victories (485) from reaching her 500th career win. Bluder amassed 127 wins at St. Ambrose (1984-1990), 187 victories at Drake (1990-2000) and 132 at Iowa (2000-07).

Iowa ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring defense (56.2), field goal percentage defense (.354), 3-point field goal percentage (.378) and rebounds allowed (33.2). Individually, Wendy Ausdemore ranks first in 3-point percentage (.553), second in 3-pointers made (2.63) and 18th in scoring (12.1). Kristi Smith ranks ninth in assists (3.25) and 15th in free throw percentage (.808) and scoring (12.4). Megan Skouby ranks eighth in blocks (1.25) and 13th in field goal percentage (.500).

Wendy Ausdemore has a better shooting percentage behind the arc than from two-point range. The junior is shooting at a 55 percent (21-38) clip from 3-point range, while her shots inside the arc fall 45 percent (13-29) of the time.

Hannah Draxten, Shante Jones, Kelly Krei, Tia Mays and Kamille Wahlin have signed National Letters of Intent to attend the University of Iowa.

“This is a large balanced class that covers every position,” said Bluder. “We are proud to sign two Iowa student-athletes, two of Minnesota’s top recruits and an outstanding player from Ohio.”

Draxten, a 6-0 wing player, has been a varsity starter since eighth grade, starting in 104 consecutive games for Fergus Falls High School in Minnesota. She has been the team’s leading scorer all four years. A two-year team captain, Draxten holds the all-time Fergus Falls High School records (boys and girls) for scoring (1,830) and rebounding (755). She has averaged 17.6 points and 7.3 rebounds over her career. Draxten is a two-time Class 3A first team all-state and all-conference honoree.

Wahlin, a native of Crookston, MN, is a 5-8 left-handed point guard who averaged 19.9 points for her Crookston High School basketball team that went 24-3 a year ago. A third-year captain, she boasts career averages of 16.5 ppg, 4.8 apg and 3.0 spg. Wahlin established school records in scoring, assists, steals and field goals. Her team finished second in the Minnesota state tournament her sophomore campaign, where she was recognized on the all-tournament squad. She was tabbed Minnesota Coaches Association All-State and was her team’s MVP the last two seasons. Wahlin sank 47 consecutive free throws last year. Wahlin played on the same AAU team (North Tartan Larson) as Draxten last summer.

Krei, a native of Iowa City, has averaged 17.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.1 assists the last three years for City High. A two-time captain, she was a first team all-state honoree her freshman and junior years and was a second team selection as a sophomore. Krei is a three-time first team all-conference, all-district and all-area honoree. The 6-2 forward was named the 2007 Mississippi Valley Conference Player of the Year in basketball and track.

Mays, a native of Des Moines, is a four-year starter for Des Moines East High School. She was a pre-season Street & Smith’s honorable mention all-American in 2006. Last season as a junior, she was an all-state, all-conference and all-district performer. A second-year captain, she helped lead her team to a school-best 19-5 record and a berth to the Girls State Tournament. A 6-1 forward, she led the Lady Scarlets in points (15 ppg), rebounds (10 rpg), blocks (4 bpg) and field goal percentage (63%).

Jones is a 5-9 guard/forward from Dayton, OH. Jones played her first two years at Stivers School for the Arts and competed for Carroll High School last season. She averaged 17.8 points her junior year and was tabbed first team all-league and second team all-conference, all-district and all-southwest. Jones was named MVP of Carroll High School her junior season. She was selected first team all-league, all-conference and all-district her sophomore campaign. Jones was the highest scorer in the area her sophomore year (28.0 ppg) and named Stivers High School MVP.

Iowa has been picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten by a selected media panel and seventh by the league coaches. Ohio State, a team that has won outright or shared the last three regular season conference titles, is picked to win its fourth straight. Wisconsin senior Jolene Anderson was selected as the pre-season Player of the Year by both voting groups.

Iowa returns third team all-Big Ten performers Wendy Ausdemore and Kristi Smith and honorable mention honoree Megan Skouby from a year ago. All three juniors averaged double digits to lead the Hawkeyes. Smith averaged a team-best 13.4 points, followed by Skouby (13.2) and Ausdemore (12.7).

Iowa will honor and celebrate the 1992-93 team that posted a 27-4 overall record, captured first place in the Big Ten with a 16-2 mark and advanced to the Final Four in Atlanta. The team will be recognized at halftime of the February 17th game vs. Minnesota.

Johanna Solverson has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after missing the last two seasons due to consecutive ACL tears in her right knee. The 6-2 small forward played in all but one game her first three seasons. One of Iowa’s most versatile players, she boasts a career average of 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.67 steals in 94 games.

Solverson becomes only the second Iowa women’s basketball player to receive a sixth year from the NCAA. Simone Edwards (1993-97) received a sixth year after suffering two season-ending knee injuries. Edwards played two full seasons and a partial third with the Hawkeyes after transferring to Iowa from Seminole Junior College.

Iowa’s roster features five players from the state of Iowa (Wendy Ausdemore, Kelsey Cermak, Abby Emmert, Stacy Schlapkohl and Nicole VanderPol). The Hawkeyes also have two players from Illinois (Jenee Graham and Johanna Solverson) and Minnesota (Kachine Alexander and Krista VandeVenter). Iowa’s 13-person roster also features players from Colorado (Kristi Smith), Kansas (JoAnn Hamlin), Michigan (Lindsey Nyenhuis) and Ohio (Megan Skouby).

Iowa Hawkeye fans will again be treated to behind-the-scenes information this season as seniors Jenee Graham and Johanna Solverson and junior Lindsey Nyenhuis will blog during the season, which will be posted on The trio will share their thoughts on practices, games, road trips, and everything else concerning the program.

All-session tickets for the 2008 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament presented by Xbox 360 Live are $45 through Jan. 7, 2008, that’s a $20 discount from the regular price. After Jan. 7, all-session tickets will be $65. Tickets can be purchased at the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling Ticketmaster at (319) 363-1888.

The tournament returns to Indianapolis for the 13th time in 14 years and has attracted more than 29,000 fans for each of the last six events. The 2006 tournament attendance of 38,638 and session average of 7,728 were both event records. In the past 13 years of Big Ten Tournament play, the conference has welcomed more than 382,000 fans. Six different league representatives have become tournament champions. Purdue leads all teams with six titles followed by two championships for both Iowa and Penn State and a single title for Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Statistics and play-by-play accounts of all games will be available live on the internet. The statistical program allows viewers to read the play-by-play action just moments after it takes place, and to view all individual and team statistics while the game is in progress.

The program can be accessed through and then clicking on the `Gametracker’ link.

“HAWK TALK WITH Lisa Bluder”
Catch “Hawk Talk with Lisa Bluder”, the radio call-in program Monday nights featuring Iowa Hawkeye women’s head coach Lisa Bluder, on KXIC-AM 800 in Iowa, WHO-AM 1040 in Des Moines and WMT-AM 600 in Cedar Rapids from 6-7 p.m.

Fans can call toll-free at (800) 332-5401 or locally at (319) 365-0600. The show originates from Bob’s Your Uncle restaurant on the eastside of Iowa City.

After hosting its annual tournament this weekend, Iowa will have a 12-day layoff between games. The Hawkeyes will entertain Western Illinois (Dec. 22) in their final non-conference game of the season.

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