Jan. 3, 2008
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Krista VandeVenter was successful on a field goal attempt from 15 feet with 13 seconds remaining in overtime to give Iowa a 68-66 win over Minnesota inside Williams Arena on Thursday evening. With the road victory, Iowa improves to 9-5 overall, 2-1 in the Big Ten Conference.
“This was an unbelievable game,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It was two pretty evenly-matched teams going at it and to get this Big Ten road win was huge.”
VandeVenter’s game-winner came off an assist by Kristi Smith (her seventh of the game). It was a sloppy extra five-minute frame, with the Hawkeyes out-scoring the host Golden Gophers 4-2. Smith made two free throws with 58 seconds remaining for the first points for either team in the extra stanza. Minnesota couldn’t convert on a final field goal attempt by Brittany McCoy as the buzzer sounded.
It marked the third consecutive time that Iowa and Minnesota have played to a two-point game and the third straight time that the visiting team has come away with the victory (the Hawkeyes have won 2 of those 3). The Gophers (11-4) lost for the first time in three Big Ten outings.
Iowa’s Wendy Ausdemore appears to have broken out of a mini shooting slump, making 6 of 8 field goals (4 of 6 three-pointers) for 16 points. She also grabbed a team-high five rebounds. Johanna Solverson, who scored 12 first-half points, matched Ausdemore with 16 points. She was 6 of 10 from the field with three three-point goals and four rebounds. Three other Hawkeyes scored in double figures — Smith with 13 and VandeVenter and Stacy Schlapkohl with 10 points apiece. It marked the fifth time this season that Ausdemore has scored 15 or more points.
“I love the balance that we saw tonight,” Bluder said. “I also thought we rebounded tough in the second half.”
Iowa attempted 12 fewer field goals than the Gophers (65 to 53), but the Hawkeyes converted 27 times (50.9 percent) — their third highest shooting percentage of the season.
“To get a road win in this conference is really a hard thing to do,” Bluder said. “It gives us great confidence going into the Ohio State game (Sunday).”
Solverson’s hot hand allowed the Hawkeyes to grab a 36-33 lead at halftime. She made all four of her field goal attempts, including 3 of 3 from beyond the three-point arc. As a team Iowa made 15 of 28 field goals (53.6 percent) and grabbed six steals.
The Hawkeyes had two leads of nine points in the early going. The first came at the 9:23 mark when VandeVenter converted a conventional three-point play that gave Iowa a 22-13 advantage. Ausdemore, who was attracting substantial defensive pressure, made it 24-15 with a turn-around jumper off a VandeVenter assist with 8:43 to play in the half.
Minnesota clawed back and went on an 11-2 run during a 2:25 span late in the half and the Gophers took a 31-30 lead with 2:57 remaining before the break. VandeVenter then completed her second conventional three-point play to put the Hawkeyes in front 33-31. The third three-pointer by Solverson with 1:13 left broke a 33-33 tie and gave Iowa an edge heading into the break.
Ausdemore was 2 for 2 from the field with two assists. Smith handed out four assists. Minnesota controlled the boards and held a 19-13 advantage (7-3 on the offensive end) after the first 20 minutes.
Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Jan. 6, with a game against Ohio State beginning at 3:05 p.m.
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