Jan. 10, 2008
By Derek Sawvell
EAST LANSING, Mich. — A tale of two halves was the story Thursday night as the University of Iowa fell to Michigan State 73-65 in women’s basketball.
Iowa got a very strong performance from leading scorer Kristi Smith who led all players with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting including 4-of-8 from behind the arc, but saw a 13-point lead fade away to the Spartans in the second half. With the win, the Spartans improve to 10-7 on the year and 2-3 in the Big Ten while Iowa falls to 9-7 and 2-3 in conference play.
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder was left disappointed after the game.
“We had a terrific game in the first half both offensively and defensively,” Bluder said. “Then in the second half everything melted away. We had 17 second-half turnovers and they got 36 of their points off turnovers and that pretty much tells the story.”
Iowa’s Johanna Solverson had a double-double for the Hawkeyes with 15 points and 13 rebounds. She also added five assists before fouling out late in the second half.
In a battle of the Big Ten’s top two teams in field goal percentage defense, the first half started off slow for both the Hawkeyes and the Spartans as the score was tied 2-2 after the first four minutes. Michigan State took a 9-4 lead behind a strong inside hook shot by leading scorer Allyssa DeHaan. DeHaan later picked up her second foul and was taken out of the game at the 12:08 mark of the first half.
“We did a great job on DeHaan tonight,” Bluder said.
Iowa then went on a 14-4 run fueled by Smith with two three-pointers to lead 18-13. Smith shot a perfect 5-of-5 from the field including 3-of-3 from behind the three-point line to score 13 first half points.
DeHaan was brought back into the game at the eight-minute mark but was held scoreless for the rest of the half and had just two points at halftime. The Spartans were led by freshman Kalisha Keane with six points and four rebounds in the half. She finished the game with 12 points.
Iowa also got strong first half performances from Stacy Schlapkohl and Solverson. Schlapkohl scored eight points on 4-of-4 shooting and Solverson scored seven points and grabbed two rebounds. It was Iowa’s offensive efficiency and hot shooting by Smith, Solverson and Schlapkohl that resulted in a 13-point lead 35-22 at the half.
Iowa shot 58.3 percent from the field, including 62.5 percent from behind the three-point line for the half. Iowa held Michigan State to 35.7 percent from the field and only 11.1 percent from behind the arc.
Michigan State began the second half with an 11-4 run to cut Iowa’s lead to 39-33 during the first four minutes of play. Iowa’s first four points of the half came from Schlapkohl, who finished the game with 12 points making 6-of-7 field goals.
With DeHaan continuing her foul trouble in the second half and only scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds in the game, Michigan State got a huge performance from Brittney Thomas who scored a career-high 18 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Spartan guard Courtney Davidson also added 18 points on the evening.
“We couldn’t contain Brittney Thomas and Courtney Davidson,” Bluder said
Michigan State scored 51 points in the second half, including a 22-8 run from the 12:28 mark to the 3:58 mark to take a 59-58 lead. The Spartans never looked back as they used great play from Davidson and Thomas to take control of the game and give the Spartans a 73-65 win.
Iowa plays Wisconsin at home Jan. 13 at 3:05 p.m. and Bluder is hoping to get the Hawkeyes back on track.
“We’ve got to have two days of good preparation,” Bluder said. “They’re hungry for a win and we have to match their intensity.”
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