Hawkeyes Travel to Michigan State Thursday

Jan. 7, 2008

The Iowa Hawkeyes (9-6, 2-2) travel to East Lansing, MI, Thursday to face the Michigan State Spartans (9-7, 1-3). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CST).

Thursday concludes a stretch of playing three of four road games for the Hawkeyes. Conversely, Thursday concludes four of five home games for the Spartans.

Thursday’s contest will be televised live to a national cable audience on the Big Ten Network (HD). Dan Gutowsky and former Illinois Head Coach Theresa Grentz will call the action. It will be Iowa’s third of eight regular season games to be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call Thursday 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.

Iowa has played 953 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 577-376 (.605). That includes a 285-143 (.666) mark in Big Ten games and 265-81 (.766) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Thursday will be the 51st meeting between Iowa and Michigan State, with the Hawkeyes leading the series 29-21. Iowa holds a slim 13-10 advantage in games played at East Lansing. Michigan State has won seven of the last eight in the series, including both meetings last season. Iowa won its first three games at Michigan State under Coach Bluder (2001, 2002 and 2004), but Michigan State has won the last three (2005, 2006 and 2007).

Michigan State enters Thursday’s game losers of four of its last five games and six of its last nine. The Spartans did pick-up a huge home victory over No. 17 Ohio State (60-53) on Dec. 30.

The Spartans lost their last game, 69-57, at home, to Penn State in front of a national television audience on CBS last Saturday. The Lady Lions forced 22 turnovers and out-scored Michigan State 16-4 in fast break points. Allyssa DeHaan notched her fourth double-double of the season and 11th of her career. The sophomore totaled 14 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a game-high six blocks.

DeHaan ranks fifth in Big Ten scoring (16.1) and fourth in rebounding (13.9). Additionally, she is tops in the league and second in the country in blocks (4.8). Freshman Brittany Thomas ranks second in conference assists (4.3), while classmate Kalisha Keane ranks ninth in Big Ten scoring (13.9).

Michigan State starts three freshmen (Thomas, Keane and Cetera Washington), while the Hawkeyes start three seniors (Johanna Solverson, Stacy Schlapkohl and Krista VandeVenter).

The Spartans rank first in the Big Ten in blocked shots (6.06), field goal defense (.364) and defensive rebounds (27.25) and second in 3-point field goal defense (.278).

After Thursday’s contest, Michigan State will play seven of its next 10 games on the road.

Suzy Merchant is in her first season (9-7, .563) as Michigan State’s head coach and 13th year (210-127, .623) as a head coach.

For the second time in eight days, the Iowa Hawkeyes came up on the short end of a meeting with nationally-ranked Michigan State. This time by a 67-57 score at the Breslin Center, Jan. 21, 2007. Lisa Bluder’s squad was an 83-63 victim of the Spartans one week earlier, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

In each game, the difference was Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan. The freshman center scored 16 points to lead all scorers. More impressive, however, was her seven blocked shots and the fact that she held Iowa’s Megan Skouby to just eight points, four of which came from the free throw line.

Iowa was led in scoring by point guard Kristi Smith and forward Krista VandeVenter, who both netted 13 points. The Hawkeyes’ Wendy Ausdemore struggled from the field, hitting just 2-11 field goal attempts. Iowa shot just 38 percent from the field as a team.

Aisha Jefferson and Mia Johnson each scored 10 points for the Spartans. Victoria Lucas-Perry was credited with nine rebounds. Michigan State shot an even 50 percent from the field.

The Spartans used an 11-2 run capped by a Rene Haynes layup with 14:09 left in the second half to break the game open. The Hawkeyes never got any closer than seven points in the final 10 minutes.

Michigan State out-rebounded Iowa by seven (37-30) and dominated the Hawkeyes in the post, out-scoring Iowa 42-24 in the paint.

The start of the Big Ten schedule will be challenging for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Its first five games are against teams that rank in the RPI top 50, including four (Penn State, 11; Michigan, 27; Minnesota, 22 and Ohio State, 24) with RPIs 27 or better. Furthermore, Iowa is about to conclude a stretch of three of four games away from Iowa City.

? Michigan State is 4-3 in home contests, while Iowa is 3-3 in contests away from home this season.
? Michigan State ranks first in Big Ten field goal percentage defense (.364), while Iowa ranks second (.368).
? Both Iowa and Michigan State competed at the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico (Nov. 21-23), but did not play each other.
? Iowa and Michigan State have played four common opponents: Northern Illinois, Penn State, Ohio State and Minnesota. The Hawkeyes defeated Minnesota (68-66, ot), Penn State (67-58) and Northern Illinois (87-43), but lost to Ohio State (73-65). The Spartans downed Ohio State (60-53) and Northern Illinois (67-40), but lost to Penn State (69-57) and Minnesota (63-74).
? After four games, every Big Ten team has at least one loss. Six teams are tied for first: Minnesota, Purdue, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois (2-1).
? Iowa has two wins over top-25 RPI rated teams (Penn State, 13 and Minnesota, 21).
? Megan Skouby is the only Hawkeyes to average double digits against Michigan State (15.2). Skouby recorded a career-high 27 points (12-20 FG, 3-4 FT) vs. the Spartans almost two years to date (Jan. 9, 2006).
? Iowa is 111-14 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. The Hawkeyes have led at half in three of their four conference games this year. Iowa is 91-19 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 41-3 mark when opponents score 59 points or less.
? Point guard Kristi Smith has collected seven assists four times this year (Dartmouth, Mississippi State, Western Illinois and Minnesota).
? Iowa has held nine of its 15 opponents to 58 points or less this season (7-2).
? Iowa 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 win over Northern Illinois (87-43) tied the program’s 17th-biggest margin of victory, equaling its 93-49 win over Iowa State (Nov. 29, 1987).
? Iowa ranks 32nd nationally in attendance, averaging 2,750 fans. Michigan State ranks ninth in the country (6,763).

No. 20 Ohio State scored 46 first-half points, shooting a blistering 61.3 percent (19-31), en route to an eight-point victory (73-65) over Iowa Sunday afternoon in front of a season-high 4,033 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa trailed by as many as 19 points in the second half, but mounted a furious comeback. The Hawkeyes trimmed the Buckeye margin to four with 3:37 left, but Ohio State converted 10 of its last 13 fouls shots to secure the victory.

Iowa’s Kristi Smith netted 17 of her team-high 20 points in the first half. After scoring only three bench points at Minnesota last Thursday, Iowa’s bench produced 24 points vs. Ohio State. Freshman Kachine Alexander provided a spark, scoring a career-high nine points and collecting three rebounds and two steals. Sophomore JoAnn Hamlin grabbed a team and season-high seven rebounds off the bench.

Junior guard Ashlee Trebilcock scored a game and career-high 25 points to lead the Buckeyes. Senior forward Tamarah Riley contributed 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while freshman center Jantel Lavender added 12 points.

Iowa recorded a season-high 20 fast break points in defeat.

? Ohio State has won nine straight games over Iowa. The overall series is now tied (24-24).
? After getting shutout in the first half, Wendy Ausdemore scored 10 points the final 20 minutes. The junior dished out a team-high five assists, a total that matches her career high.
? Iowa lost its first game of the season when scoring 60 points or more (9-1).
? Ohio State, a team that averages nearly 17 assists per game, was limited to nine.

Prior to Big Ten play, Iowa rated in the low-70s on the RPI listed on www.collegerpi.com. After wins over Penn State and Minnesota, the Hawkeyes have vaulted up to 43rd in the rankings (Jan. 7).

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

Through 15 games this year, Iowa ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.368), third in scoring defense (57.1) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.285).

Reserve guard Lindsey Nyenhuis is out indefinitely with a stress fracture (left foot). The injury was diagnosed Dec. 19 and she will be in a boot for about two weeks. Nyenhuis has missed five games since being injured.

For the second straight year, Iowa has a higher free throw percentage on the road than at home. The Hawkeyes have converted 77.0 percent (67-87) of its road foul shots, compared to 68.2 percent (90-132) at home. Iowa averages 76.1 more points per game, 5.2 more assists and 3.1 more rebounds at home than on the road. Here are the home and away comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSHome    .448    .379    .682    36.9    16.2    16.1    64.9Away    .414    .366    .770    33.8    11.0    17.3    58.8

Iowa has been very accurate shooting the ball behind the arc this season. The Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten, shooting 37.4 percent (80-214) from 3-point range. Three Hawkeyes have combined for 71 of their 80 triples (Wendy Ausdemore, 38; Kristi Smith, 18; Johanna Solverson, 15). Iowa has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range six times 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 eight victories (489) from reaching her 500th career win. Bluder amassed 127 wins at St. Ambrose (1984-1990), 187 victories at Drake (1990-2000) and 136 at Iowa (2000-07).

Junior Wendy Ausdemore doesn’t get to the free throw line very much, only 1.5 attempts in 74 games the last three years, but rarely misses when she toes the line.

Ausdemore has missed only 11 free throws in her career (.895, 102-114). 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 second in field goal percentage defense (.368) and 3-point field goal percentage (.374), third in scoring margin (57.1) and 3-pointers made (5.36) and fourth in 3-point percentage defense (.285) and assists (14.13) in Big Ten all games rankings. Individually, Wendy Ausdemore first second in 3-point field goal percentage (.475), second in 3-pointers made (2.53) and 17th in scoring (11.7). Kristi Smith ranks fourth in free throw percentage (.872), 10th in assists (3.47) and 16th in scoring (11.9).

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.

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 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 108 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 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.

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. 14, 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 City, 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 east side of Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena Sunday when they host Wisconsin. Sunday is Iowa’s annual “Girl Scout Day”. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. and the game will be televised locally on KCRG-TV9.

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