Hawkeyes Return to Action Saturday

Dec. 17, 2007

The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-4) will play their final non-conference game Saturday when they host the Western Illinois Westerwinds (3-6) Saturday at 4:05 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Saturday will be Iowa’s first game in 13 days. Ticket prices for are $7 for adults, while youths and UI students are free.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call Saturday afternoon’s game for the Hawkeye Radio Network. Hawkeye fans can listen to the contest 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.

? Players will be available for autographs, after the game, on the concourse.
? During the second half of every home game, one lucky Hawkeye fan will win an iPod Shuffle, while another will win an iTunes gift card during “Big Ten SuperFan T-Shirt Toss”. Each winner will be included in a final drawing at Iowa’s home finale vs. Northwestern (Feb. 28) for an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis (March 6-10).

Iowa has played 948 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 574-374 (.605). That includes a 283-141 (.667) mark in Big Ten games and a 263-80 (.767) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Saturday will be the eighth meeting between Iowa and Western Illinois. The Hawkeyes and Westerwinds last met, Dec. 21, 2004 with Iowa topping Western Illinois (76-69) in Iowa City. Iowa has won three straight and five of the last six contests against the Westerwinds. Additionally, Iowa is a perfect 4-0 against Western Illinois in Iowa City.

Western Illinois will begin a five-game road trip Wednesday at Illinois State before traveling to Iowa City for Saturday afternoon’s contest.

The Westerwinds have won two straight games, including Sunday’s 77-63 home win over Robert Morris College. All five starters scored double figures en route to victory. Senior Gina Hugelier netted a game and season-high 22 points on an efficient 9-14 shooting from the field, including 3-4 from behind the 3-point arc. Western Illinois forced 25 turnovers, while committing only 11. Robert Morris did dominate the boards, out-rebounding the Westerwinds by 18 (53-35).

Hugelier averages a team-best 10.4 points and 2.4 steals per game. Senior Stephanie Lovingood averages 10.0 points and a team-best 8.7 rebounds. Junior Amanda Walker averages 9.6 points and a team-best 3.8 assists.

The Westerwinds are coached by Leslie Crane, who is in her 10th season (153-113, .575) as a head coach, all with Western Illinois.

? Five of Western Illinois’ 14-player roster are transfers. The Westerwinds have nine upperclassmen, including six juniors.
? Iowa and Western Illinois have faced three common opponents: Drake, Northern Iowa and Northern Illinois. The Hawkeyes defeated all three, while the Westerwinds lost all three contests.
? Iowa is 57-29 (.663) in non-conference contests, including boasting a 35-12 (.745) mark in non-league home games, under Coach Bluder.
? Only four points separate Kristi Smith and Wendy Ausdemore in season scoring. Ausdemore has amassed a team-best 117 points, while Smith has 113.
? 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 108-13 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. Iowa is 88-18 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 39-3 mark when opponents score 59 points or less.
? Johanna Solverson (847) is one steal from moving past Tia Jckson (168) for 10th in career thefts. Wendy Ausdemore is only two 3-pointers from tying Jenna Armstrong’s sixth-place mark of 108 career triples.
? Megan Skouby is only seven points behind Johanna Solverson in career scoring. Solverson has accumulated 861 points, while Skouby has 854.
? Megan Skouby has blocked 95 career shots, five shy of 100.
? Iowa played five non-conference games against a school from a major conference. The Hawkeyes faced a team from the SEC (Mississippi State), Pac-10 (Arizona State), ACC (Georgia Tech), Big XII (Iowa State) and MWC (Wyoming).
? Iowa’s 44-point triumph over Northern Illinois (87-43) tied the program’s 17th-biggest margin of victory, equaling its 93-49 win over Iowa State during the 1987-88 season.

Wendy Ausdemore ranks first in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage. The junior has made 58.1 percent (25-43) of her shots behind the arc. Ranked second is Tiona Wilson (UT-Pan American), who has made 56 percent (14-25) of her attempts.

As a team, Iowa ranks seventh in 3-point field goal perentage (.403).

The Iowa Hawkeyes stormed back in the second half and held a 47-45 lead with 2:30 minutes remaining before falling to No. 21 Wyoming 54-50 in the championship of the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge in 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 held on for a four-point victory.

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.

JoAnn Hamlin led the Hawkeyes with six rebounds. Iowa, which made 10 treys during a win against Northern Illinois the previous day, was 3 of 10 from behind the arc. Wyoming shot the same percentage from long range, but the Cowgirls attempted twice as many triples (6 of 20).

The Hawkeyes made 21 of 53 field goals (39.6 percent). Both teams committed 13 turnovers, but the Cowgirls scored 15 points off turnovers (compared to nine for Iowa) and outscored the Hawkeyes 4-0 on fast break points.

Iowa was without the services of senior guard/forward Jenee Graham for three games (Georgia Tech, Detroit and Iowa State). The Hawkeyes’ leading rebounder suffered a broken bone in her right shooting hand in practice, Nov. 26.

After two weeks, Graham had the cast removed and saw action off the bench in contests against Northern Illinois and Wyoming. The senior had four points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal in 12 minutes against the Huskies and four points, four rebounds, two assists and a block in 22 minutes vs. the Cowgirls.

Last season Iowa ranked last in Big Ten scoring defense (71.7) and field goal percentage defense (.447). Through 10 games this year, Iowa ranks third in scoring defense (54.7) and field goal percentage defense (.352).

Iowa has been very accurate shooting the ball behind the arc this season. The Hawkeyes rank first in the Big Ten, shooting 40.3 percent (50-124) from 3-point range. Three Hawkeyes have combined for 42 of their 50 triples (Wendy Ausdemore, 25; Kristi Smith, 9; Johanna Solverson, 8). Iowa has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range in five of 10 games this year, including a season-best 62.5 percent (10-16) against Northern Illinois. 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 69 games the last three years, but rarely misses when she toes the line.

Ausdemore has missed only 10 free throws in her career (.910, 101-111). 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 11 victories (489) from reaching her 500th career win. Bluder amassed 127 wins at St. Ambrose (1984-1990), 187 victories at Drake (1990-2000) and 133 at Iowa (2000-07).

Iowa ranks first in Big Ten 3-point field goal percentage (.403), third in scoring defense (54.7), field goal percentage defense (.352) and rebounds allowed (33.0). Individually, Wendy Ausdemore ranks first in 3-point percentage (.581), second in 3-pointers made (2.50) and 18th in scoring (11.7). Kristi Smith ranks ninth in free throw percentage (.828), 15th in assists (2.8) and 19th in scoring (11.3). Megan Skouby ranks eighth in blocks (1.1) and 12th in field goal percentage (.506).

Wendy Ausdemore has a better shooting percentage behind the arc than from two-point range. The junior is shooting at a 58 percent (25-43) clip from 3-point range, while her shots inside the arc fall 46 percent (17-37) 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 Head Coach Lisa Bluder.

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 hawkeyesports.com. 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, ticketmaster.com 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 hawkeyesports.com 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 a short Christmas break, Iowa will begin the Big Ten season at home against Penn State Dec. 28. Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. The Hawkeyes will then only have one day to prepare for its first league road game at Michigan Dec. 30.

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