Hawkeyes Host Penn State in Big Ten Opener Friday

Dec. 25, 2007

The Iowa Hawkeyes (7-4, 0-0) will open its Big Ten schedule Friday when it entertains Penn State (9-3, 0-0). Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Ticket prices for are $7 for adults, while youths and UI students are free.

Click HERE for a very special holiday blog from junior Lindsey Nyenhuis.

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.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call Friday night’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 949 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 575-374 (.606). That includes a 283-141 (.667) mark in Big Ten games and a 264-80 (.767) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Friday will be the 32nd meeting between Iowa and Penn State, with the Lady Lions leading the series 19-12. Iowa holds an 9-5 advantage in games played in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes snapped a six-game losing skid to Penn State with a 79-72 triumph in Carver-Hawkeye Arena last meeting, Feb. 18, 2007.

Penn State will play its first game in 13 days Friday when the Lady Lions travel to Iowa City. Penn State won its last contest (64-55) at Bucknell, Dec. 15. The Lady Lions are 9-3, going a perfect 7-0 at home. Penn State recorded quality wins over Arizona, Charlotte, Pittsburgh and No. 10 Duke at home during non-conference play.

Penn State ranks eighth in the country in free throw percentage (.788).

The Lady Lions boast four players who average double figures: Tyra Grant (15.4), Mashea Williams (12.6), Brianne O’Rourke (12.4) and Kamela Gissendanner (12.0). Gissendanner also ranks first in team rebounding (7.4), while O’Rourke leads the team in assists (4.3).

The Lady Lions are coached by Coquese Washington, who is in her first season (9-3, .750) as a head coach. Washington is one of four new head coaches in the Big Ten this season.

? Friday will be Iowa’s 950th women’s basketball game as a varsity sport.
? Iowa is 5-2 in conference openers under Coach Bluder. This year marks the first time in three years Iowa will open the Big Ten schedule at home. Last year, the Hawkeyes opened league play with a thrilling 58-56 come-from-behind victory at Minnesota.
? Four Hawkeyes average better than 12.0 points per game in games against Penn State (Johanna Solverson, 13.3; Kristi Smith 13.0; Megan Skouby, 12.7; Wendy Ausdemore, 12.3).
? Wendy Ausdemore has led the nation in 3-point field goal percentage the last three weeks. The senior has made 13-20 (.650) from 3-point range the last four games. Ausdemore has made 30-51 from behind the arc this season for a 58.8 percentage.
? Point guard Kristi Smith has collected seven assists three times this year (Dartmouth, Mississippi State and Western Illinois).
? Iowa ranks first in Big Ten scoring defense (54.2), while Penn State ranks last (68.8). The Lady Lions rank second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.280), while the Hawkeyes rank third (.283).
? Sunday’s game at Michigan will be only Iowa’s second trip outside the state of Iowa this season. The Hawkeyes played two games at the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico (Nov. 22-23).
? Krista VandeVenter recently moved into 10th place in Iowa career rebounding (684). She is only seven boards from tying Lis Becker (691) for ninth.
? Iowa is 109-13 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. Iowa is 89-18 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 40-3 mark when opponents score 59 points or less.
? Wendy Ausdemore is only four triples from tying Crystal Smith’s fifth-place mark of 116 career triples.
? Megan Skouby is only six points behind Johanna Solverson in career scoring. Solverson has accumulated 866 points, while Skouby has 860.
? Iowa has played five non-conference games against a team from a major conference: 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.

Iowa snapped a six-game losing skid to Penn State with a 79-72 win over the Lady Lions at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Feb. 18, 2007.

The Hawkeyes broke an arena record and tied the Big Ten single-game mark for 3-point field goal percentage. Iowa made 7-8 (.875) from behind the arc, sparked by Lindsey Nyenhuis’ perfect 4-4 effort from behind the arc.

Nyenhuis finished with a then-career-high 13 points, while Nicole VanderPol matched a career high with 15 points in only her third start of the season.

Iowa trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, but went on a 10-2 run to get back into the contest. The Hawkeyes took a two-point lead (40-38) into halftime.

A 12-2 Iowa run late in the second half, bolstered by eight points by Kristi Smith, helped build the Hawkeyes’ largest lead of eight (75-67) with 2:57 left. Smith finished the contest with a team-high 21 points.

Penn State was led by Tyra Grant, who led all scorers with 33 points. Senior Amanda Brown collected her 12th double-double of the season (14 points, 11 rebounds) for the visitors.

The Black and Gold forced a season-high 25 turnovers and converted the Lady Lion errors into a season-high 29 points. Junior Krista VandeVenter was a force defensively for the Hawkeyes, collecting a game-high four steals and collecting a team-high five rebounds.

A bright spot for Iowa was the return of center Megan Skouby. The sophomore, who suffered a broken bone in her non-shooting hand 15 days prior, played limited minutes off the bench and posted seven points and four assists for the home team.

Wendy Ausdemore has ranked first in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage the last three weeks. The junior has made 58.8 percent (30-51) of her shots behind the arc. Ranked second is Tiona Wilson (UT-Pan American), who has made 55 percent (23-42) of her attempts.

As a team, Iowa ranks eighth in 3-point field goal perentage (.414).

Last season Iowa ranked last in Big Ten scoring defense (71.7) and field goal percentage defense (.447).

Through 11 games this year, Iowa ranks first in the conference in scoring defense (54.2), second in field goal percentage defense (.348) and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.283).

After a 13-day layoff, Iowa crusied to a 70-49 victory over Western Illinois, Dec. 22 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The win improved Iowa’s record to 7-4.

Wendy Ausdemore made 5-8 treys in the game (5-6 in the first half) and finished with a game-high 19 points, with all of her scoring coming in the first 20 minutes.

Stacy Schlapkohl added 10 points and four rebounds, Kristi Smith had eight points and seven assists and JoAnn Hamlin added eight points, five rebounds and two blocked shots.

The Hawkeyes carried a 41-29 lead into the locker room thanks to red-hot shooting from the field paced by Ausdemore. Iowa outscored the Westerwinds 16-4 in the stanza’s final 4:27 to break open a game that had see-sawed through the first 15 minutes with neither team opening up anything more than a four-point margin. Six points by Schlapkohl and 3-point buckets by Ausdemore and Solverson – hers with two seconds left to play – provided Iowa its cushion.

Western Illinois pushed Iowa in the first half, but the Hawkeyes moved the ball well during the final 20 minutes, taking better care of the ball (five turnovers) and doing a more dominate job on the glass (22 second-half rebounds).

Hawkeye reserves scored 20 points, compared to just 10 by the Westerwinds. Iowa also scored a season-high 14 fast-break points.

Reserve guard Lindsey Nyenhuis is expected to miss two weeks with a stress fracture (left foot). The injury was diagnosed Dec. 19 and she will be in a boot for about two weeks.

Power forward Krista VandeVenter sprained an ankle in Iowa’s game vs. No. 21 Wyoming Dec. 9. The senior missed about a week of practice, but returned in a reserve role in Iowa’s last game vs. Western Illinois (Dec. 22). VandeVenter played 21 minutes and collected five rebounds and four points.

Guard Jenee Graham missed three games (Georgia Tech, Detroit and Iowa State) after suffering a broken bone in her right hand in practice, Nov. 26.

After two weeks, Graham had the cast removed and saw limited action off the bench in contests against Northern Illinois and Wyoming. Following those two games, she was placed in another cast for a week to help the healing process. She played 17 minutes in Iowa’s last game vs. Western Illinois as a reserve (2 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists).

Iowa has been very accurate shooting the ball behind the arc this season. The Hawkeyes rank first in the Big Ten, shooting 41.4 percent (58-140) from 3-point range. Three Hawkeyes have combined for 50 of their 58 triples (Wendy Ausdemore, 30; Kristi Smith, 11; Johanna Solverson, 9). Iowa has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range in six of 11 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).

Head Coach Lisa Bluder, the dean of Big Ten coaches, is only 10 victories (489) from reaching her 500th career win. Bluder amassed 127 wins at St. Ambrose (1984-1990), 187 victories at Drake (1990-2000) and 134 at Iowa (2000-07).

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.

Iowa ranks first in Big Ten 3-point field goal percentage (.414) and scoring defense (54.2), second in field goal percentage defense (.348) and third in field goal percentage (.447). Individually, Wendy Ausdemore ranks first in 3-point percentage (.588), second in 3-pointers made (2.73) and 14th in scoring (12.4). Kristi Smith ranks seventh in free throw percentage (.839), 12th in assists (3.18) and 20th in scoring (11.0). Megan Skouby ranks eighth in blocks (1.09) and ninth in field goal percentage (.518).

Wendy Ausdemore has a better shooting percentage behind the arc than from two-point range. The junior is shooting at a 58 percent (30-51) clip from 3-point range, while her shots inside the arc fall 46 percent (19-41) of the time. She has made 13 of her last 20 attempts (.650) from behind the arc the last four games.

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 8.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 105 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).

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.

The Hawkeyes will have only one day to prepare for its first league road game at Michigan Sunday. Iowa remains on the road next Thursday (Jan. 3) at Minnesota.

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader





Click HERE for the Big Ten Network home page.