Dec. 9, 2007
IOWA CITY — So close.
The University of Iowa women’s basketball team stormed back in the second half and held a 47-45 lead with 2 ½ minutes remaining before losing to No. 21 Wyoming 54-50 in the championship of the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge on Sunday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes trailed 28-18 at halftime after Wyoming went on a 15-2 run over the final six minutes before intermission. Iowa scored the first six points of the game and was ahead 16-13 with 6-minutes, 11-seconds left before halftime.
After clawing to a 47-43 lead with 4:03 left in the game, Iowa again watched as the Cowgirls rallied to outscore the Hawkeyes 11-3 the rest of the way and hold on for a four-point victory.
“The end of each half was detrimental for us and I think our team is not in as good of shape as what they need to be,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We couldn’t focus and drive through those last couple minutes of each half and really keep the defensive intensity high.”
Wyoming is 8-1 overall; Iowa falls to 6-4.
Iowa’s Megan Skouby scored a game-high 15 points off the bench on 7 of 11 shooting from the field. She was the lone Hawkeye in double figures. Kristi Smith scored nine points and Wendy Ausdemore added eight — all which came in the second half. Skouby and Ausdemore both scored eight points over the final 20 minutes and Smith added seven. That accounted for 23 of Iowa’s 32 points in the second half.
“You just go out there and contribute as much as you can to the team whether you’re starting or not,” Skouby said. “I just have to get out there and show I can do well.”
JoAnn Hamlin led the Hawkeyes with six rebounds. Iowa, which made 10 three-point field goals yesterday during a win against Northern Illinois, was 3 of 10 from behind the arc this afternoon. Wyoming shot the same percentage from long range, but the Cowgirls attempted twice as many three’s (6 of 20).
“I thought we were standing too much in our offense during the first half and I feel it was a lot of the same thing during the second half,” Bluder said. “I don’t think it was really a big change we made. We talked about trying to move more, but I don’t think it got a lot better, to be quite honest.”
The Hawkeyes made 21 of 53 field goals (39.6 percent). Both teams committed 13 turnvoers, but the Cowgirls scored 15 points off turnovers (compared to nine for Iowa) and outscored the Hawkeyes 4-0 on fast break points.
Bluder isn’t the only one who noticed that some extra conditioning might be in the works in the coming days for Iowa. The Hawkeyes have 13 days off before playing Western Illinois at home on Dec. 22.
“When your legs are gone, it’s hard to play tough-nosed defense that we want to play for 40 minutes,” Hamlin said.
Wyoming has now come into two Big Ten arenas and left with victories. The Cowgirls defeated Wisconsin 67-66 in overtime on Nov. 20.
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