Halftime lead disappears for Iowa at Michigan

Dec. 30, 2007

Box Score | Quotes | Notes

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A two-point University of Iowa halftime lead disappeared and Michigan heated up from the field during the final 20 minutes as the Wolverines posted a 63-46 victory Sunday afternoon inside Crisler Arena.

It was the Big Ten opener for Michigan (8-3 overall). The Hawkeyes are 8-5 overall, 1-1 in Big Ten play. Iowa point guard Kristi Smith, who scored 19 points during a victory against Penn State on Dec. 28, saw her playing time limited in the second stage of the game because of foul trouble.

“Michigan did a great job defensively,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Our shots just didn’t fall for us today and that was unfortunate.”

The Hawkeyes were haunted by a 6-minute, 23-second scoring drought in the second half. Iowa junior Wendy Ausdemore drained a three-point field goal with 11:01 remaining in the game, which cut Michigan’s lead to 44-40. The Hawkeyes would not score again until Krista VandeVenter made a field goal with 4:38 left, but by that time Iowa was in a 14-point hole (56-42).

It was a solid performance by Hawkeye posts VandeVenter (14 points, nine rebounds) and Stacy Schlapkohl (11 points, four rebounds). Michigan shot 58.3 percent from the field in the second half (14 of 24), while Iowa made just 8 of 38 field goal attempts (21.1 percent) over the final 20 minutes. The shooting differential was not limited to the floor. Iowa was 4 of 9 from the line (44.4) and Michigan was 13 of 16 (81.3). Ausdemore finished with 10 points, including two three-point field goals. VandeVenter scored eight points with six rebounds in the second half.

Krista VandeVenter had a very, very nice game for us,” Bluder said.

Iowa took a two-point advantage (26-24) into the locker room at halftime. The interior Hawkeye defense was strong, forcing the Wolverines to take 15 of their 27 shots from three-point range. Iowa shot 47.8 percent from the field (11 of 23), led by Schlapkohl with seven points (3 of 5 field goals, 1 of 1 free throws). Four Iowa players scored at least five points in the first half — Schlapkohl, VandeVenter (six), Ausdemore (five) and Smith (five). VandeVenter had three rebounds and Smith compiled three assists.

“I’m more worried about allowing 39 points in the second half. That’s what we’ve hung our hat on all year long.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder

Ausdemore gave Iowa a 2-0 lead off an assist from Smith just 12 seconds into the game. The Hawkeyes were then forced into come-back mode and overcame two five-point deficits. Iowa drew even at 11-11 with 11:09 left in the half when VandeVenter sank a field goal and again it was Smith with the assists.

With 7:40 left in the half, Ausdemore made a three-point field goal, pulling the Hawkeyes within one point at 15-14. Prior to that field goal, Ausdemore, the national leader in three-point percentage, had uncharacteristically misfired on her previous eight attempts from long range.

Schlapkohl gave the Hawkeyes their first lead since the early-going with a traditional three-point play at the 7:01 mark, making it 17-16. Another field goal by Schlapkohl tied the game at 19-19 before Iowa went on its most consistent run of the game. A two-point field goal by VandeVenter and a three by Solverson gave the Hawkeyes a five-point edge (24-19) with 3:50 left before halftime.

Bluder was alarmed by the fact the Hawkeyes were outscored 39-20 in the second half.

“I’m more worried about allowing 39 points in the second half,” Bluder said. “That’s what we’ve hung our hat on all year long.”

Iowa remains on the road and will play at Minnesota on Thursday, Jan. 3, beginning at 7:05 p.m.

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