Jan. 13, 2008
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by Sean Neugent
IOWA CITY, Iowa — In a thrilling overtime victory the University of Iowa women’s basketball team defeated Wisconsin 78-74 on Sunday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
With the win, Iowa moves to 10-7 on the season and is an even 3-3 in Big Ten play. The Badgers fall to 8-7 and 1-4.
Badger senior guard Jolene Anderson, a member on the Olympic team, was as good as advertised. She came into the contest averaging 17.9 points and 7.6 rebounds and was well on her way by the end of the first half. Anderson had 17 points in the first half on 6 of 14 shooting, including 2 of 4 from behind the arc. She did everything she could and finished with a game high 42 points on 13 of 27 shooting including 13 of 13 on free throws. Anderson tied an arena record with her 42 points and set the record for free throw percentage.
“She is a special player,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “You can see why she represents the United States of America and USA basketball. I think she had to work for her points tonight but she still scored them. She proved what a great player she is.”
“She is a great player,” UI senior center Stacy Schlapkohl said. “Every time we play her, we know she has a long three, she has a great pull-up and we knew that going into the game. I think in your senior year, you are going out as your last time so we are out there playing our hardest and she is out there playing her hardest. She has worked hard and is just a great player.”
In what was an up-and-down battle, the Hawkeyes took advantage of 10 offensive rebounds to go along with a 26-16 rebounding edge over the Badgers. They continued to dominate the boards as they pulled down 53, including 22 on offense, which alone was more than Wisconsin had on defense. The Badgers had only 32 rebounds. Iowa was led by Alexander who had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Iowa went to the charity stripe early and often as they hit five more free throws than Wisconsin. Iowa made 15 of 17 (88 percent) from the line as the Badgers drilled 10 of 12 (82 percent). The Hawkeyes finished hitting 24 of 31 (77 percent) to the Badgers’ 22 of 29 (76 percent).
Iowa struggled with turnovers the entire half as Wisconsin put heavy pressure on the offense and full-court-pressed much of the first half. The Hawkeyes finished the half with 10 turnovers to five by the Badgers.
UI center Megan Skouby provided a spark off the bench. The Hawkeyes went on a 12-6 run thanks in part to Skouby’s nine points as Iowa led 32-23 with 2:39 left to play. Skouby finished the game with 11 points. Anderson continued to lead the Badgers as they created a 13-7 run of their own to make it 39-36 at intermission.
Both teams struggled on offense as the Hawkeyes shot 26 of 65 (40 percent) and 2 of 16 (12.5 percent) from three point land. The Badgers went 24 of 61 (39 percent) from the floor and 4 of 15 (26 percent) behind the arc.
Anderson continued to roll when she hit a jumper 10 seconds into the second half. She hit her seventh point within 3:30 of the final half as Wisconsin tied the game up at 45-45 with 14:34 to go in the contest.
Iowa junior guard Kristi Smith hit a jumper to retake the lead and maintained it until the last few seconds. A couple of Anderson free throws with 46 seconds left trimmed Iowa’s lead to 65-64. A few possessions later Anderson fumbled the ball into the Hawkeyes hands with 12.9 seconds remaining. Wisconsin’s Teah Gant fouled Alexander who made 1 of 2. Wisconsin rebounded the ball and gave it to Anderson, who made the layup and knotted the game at 66-66.
“We were letting them drive on us and our defense needed to be stronger than it was,” Schlapkohl said.
Smith leads Iowa in scoring at 12.6 points per game and stepped up her game in the second half after scoring only two points in the first. The point guard had 12 points for the game. Iowa had an even distribution for points as three Hawkeyes scored in double figures led by Schlapkohl with 14.
“We are not a selfish team,” Schlapkohl said. “If we get into foul trouble, we know that there is someone behind us that is going to come in and is going to play quality minutes on the floor. I think that is a benefit to us because other teams don’t know who to guard because we can all score at all positions.”
“This really showed more of a team win,” Bluder said. “We didn’t have that situation where we have to rely on that one person.”
In overtime, the Badgers took a quick four-point lead before Solverson was fouled as she hit the layup and made the latter free throw as Wisconsin led 70-69. The lead went back and forth as Iowa again regained it when sophomore forward JoAnn Hamlin made a pair of free throws. Anderson followed that up with another pair of free throws to give Wisconsin a 72-71 edge. Senior Johanna Solverson nailed another layup to put Iowa ahead by one.
“Going into overtime we were confident,” Schlapkohl said. “There wasn’t a doubt in anybody’s mind that we were going to lose this game. It is our home court and we are not losing another game.”
Schlapkohl and Alexander hit a few key free throws to seal the deal as Iowa won 78-74. The Hawkeyes hit 6 of 8 from the charity stripe in overtime.
“This is our house,” Schlapkohl said. “We have to learn how to protect our house. We played protecting Carver. We need to take a stand when people come in here and they fear coming to Carver.”
“We have to play with emotion,” Alexander said. “Pick each other up, energy, intensity and I think we did that tonight.”
Iowa continued to struggle in the second half as the Hawkeyes handed the ball over to the Badgers 22 times. Luckily, Wisconsin had a tough time handling the ball as well as they turned the ball over 18 times.
“I can’t tell you how much better it feels to win,” Bluder said. “It’s amazing. It was a very happy locker room. I am really happy for our team.”
The Hawkeyes will travel to Champagne, Ill., to take on the Fighting Illini on Jan. 21 with a 7:05 tipoff.
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