Hawkeyes Visit Illinois Monday

Jan. 18, 2008

The Iowa Hawkeyes (10-7, 3-3) travel to Champaign, IL, to face the Illinois Fighting Illini (11-6, 3-3) Monday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Assembly Hall. Monday will be the only regular season meeting between the two teams. The Hawkeyes were victorious in their last visit to Illinois (71-60), Feb. 23, 2006.

Monday’s contest will be televised to a national cable audience on the Big Ten Network (HD). Mark Neely and Mary Murphy will call the action. It will be Iowa’s fourth of eight regular season games to be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call Monday 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 955 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 578-377 (.605). That includes a 286-144 (.665) mark in Big Ten games and 266-81 (.767) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Illinois first-year Head Coach Jolette Law is a 1990 graduate of the University of Iowa. Law, who was a 1990 all-American, played four years (1986-90) for former Iowa and Hall of Fame Coach C. Vivian Stringer. Law currently ranks 17th in Iowa career scoring (1,137) and sixth in steals (205) and assists (353). The Hawkeyes won or shared four Big Ten Championships, reached the Elite Eight twice and helped Iowa win 46-straight home games during her career.

Illinois has lost three of its last four games, with the three setbacks coming on the road. The Illini are 5-2 in home contests and are scheduled to play three of their next four at Assembly Hall.

Illinois lost at Ohio State Thursday night (43-42). The Illini led by seven late in the contest, but were outscored 8-0 in the final 4:50. In fact, Illinois only attempted two field goals the last 4:50. Sophomore center Jenna Smith fueled Illinois, posting game highs in points (16) and blocks (5) and grabbing nine rebounds.

The Illini boast the third-best free throw percentage in the nation (.801, 234-292). Illinois also ranks second in Big Ten in scoring defense (55.8) and field goal percentage (.436) and third in rebounding margin (+4.6).

Illinois is led by Smith, senior Danyel Crutcher and junior Lori Bjork. Smith averages a team-best 18.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contest. Crutcher averages 10.5 points and 6.2 rebounds, while Bjork averages 9.1 points.

The Illini do not have a very deep bench. Six players average 20 minutes or more, including four who average over 33 minutes.

Illinois has two players on its roster who hail from the state of Iowa: Stephanie Chelleen (Des Moines) and Bjork (Johnston).

The Fighting Illini are rated No. 58 in the latest RPI rankings on www.collegerpi.com/women. Illinois’ best win of the year came over Minnesota, who is ranked 34th in the RPI.

Jolette Law is in her first season (11-6, .647) as a head coach. She spent the previous 12 seasons as an assistant under Stringer at Rutgers.

Four Illinois starters scored in double figures en route to a 74-69 come-from-behind victory over Iowa, Feb. 15, 2007, in Iowa City. The win was only Illinois’ third in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 23 tries. The game was part of a men/women doubleheader. The Northwestern at Iowa men’s game, originally scheduled one day earlier, was postponed due to severe weather and dangerous driving conditions.

Iowa led by as many as 12 points in the first half on the shoulders of Wendy Ausdemore, who netted 18 of her game and career-high 29 points in the first period. The Illini closed the gap to five (34-29) by halftime.

A Lori Bjork 3-pointer at the 10:07 mark of the second half gave Illinois its first lead of the game. The last 10 minutes featured nine ties and four lead changes.

A pair of Ausdemore free throws gave Iowa a two-point advantage (67-65) with 1:32 remaining. Following an Illinois timeout, the Illini found Bjork on the baseline, who sank her fourth triple to give Illinois a one-point lead (68-67). The Illini’s lead swelled to five by the end of the contest. Illinois shot 37 percent from the field in the first half, but converted a number of high-percentage shots in the second half and shot 62 percent.

Illinois exploited Iowa’s lack of depth in the post as it scored 38 paint points, 24 in the second half. Illinois’ post duo of Danyel Crutcher (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Jenna Smith (15 points, 10 rebounds) both posted double-doubles. Bjork finished the contest with 20 points to lead Illinois in scoring, while Lacey Simpson added 18 points and seven assists.

Iowa’s Kristi Smith contributed 11 points and a team-high six assists, while Krista VandeVenter pulled down 10 rebounds.

Both teams excelled at the foul line. Iowa shot a season-high .933 (14-15) and Illinois converted .824 (14-17).

Monday will be the 58th meeting between Iowa and Illinois, with the Hawkeyes boasting a 41-16 advantage. The 41 victories are the most the Hawkeyes have against any other team. Iowa has won 38 of the last 45 overall meetings, including six of the last seven. The Fighting Illini snapped a six-game losing skid to the Hawkeyes with a 74-69 triumph at Iowa City in the only meeting between the two teams in 2006-07. Iowa owns a 16-10 advantage in games played in Champaign, including winning the last three.

? After Monday, Iowa will play four of its next five games at home, with the road contest being at Northwestern.
? Two Hawkeyes average better than 12.0 points per game against Illinois (Megan Skouby, 12.0 and Wendy Ausdemore, 19.0).
? Iowa has two wins over top-35 RPI rated teams (Penn State, 30 and Minnesota, 34). The Hawkeyes are 54th in the latest RPI rankings, as of Friday.
? Iowa is 112-15 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. The Hawkeyes have led at half in five of their six 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 teams 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 2,962 fans.

Iowa outscored Wisconsin 12-4 in the final four minutes of overtime to record a 78-74 victory Sunday afternoon in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes were victorious despite Wisconsin senior Jolene Anderson’s career day. Anderson netted a career-high 42 points and became the Badgers’ all-time leading scorer. The 42 points tied the Carver-Hawkeye Arena record set by Iowa’s Amy Herrig (vs. Northwestern, Feb. 14, 1999). She also set an arena record for free throw percentage, sinking all 13 attempts from the charity stripe.

Iowa’s Stacy Schlapkohl posted season highs in scoring (14) and rebounds (7). Kristi Smith and Megan Skouby contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively. Kachine Alexander pulled down a game and career-high 10 rebounds off the bench and scored four of her six points in the final 5:19, including overtime.

Wisconsin boasted a +6.90 rebounding margin before the game. The Hawkeyes dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Badgers by 21 (53-32). The 53 rebounds are a season high for the Black and Gold.

Other than Anderson, no other Wisconsin starter scored more than four points. Janese Banks entered the game averaging over 15 points per contest and the Hawkeyes held the senior to four points.

? Iowa improved to 2-0 in overtime games this season; the Hawkeyes won 68-66 at Minnesota, Jan. 3, 2008. The Hawkeyes also improve to 3-0 in overtime contests vs. Wisconsin; the Black and Gold won 85-76 in 1991 and 87-82 in 2004.
? Iowa improves to 15-21 in overtime games, including 15-18 in single overtime contests. The Hawkeyes are 7-7 in overtime contests under Coach Bluder.
? Iowa has won eight of the last 10 against the Badgers. The Black and Gold improve to 32-20 all-time vs. Wisconsin and 20-8 at Iowa City.
? Four different Hawkeyes scored in overtime. Also, Johanna Solverson and Kachine Alexander each completed traditional 3-point plays (basket and a free throw) in the extra session.
? Nine of Iowa’s 10 players that saw action attempted at least two free throws. The Hawkeyes shot 77.4 percent (24-31) from the foul line.
? Stacy Schlapkohl has posted double figures four of the last five games.
? Wendy Ausdemore, Iowa’s second-leading scorer, only netted five points, but the junior did collect a career-high five steals.
? Iowa tied its season high in steals with 11 against Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes also had 11 steals vs. Arizona State and Northern Illinois.
? Iowa improved to 2-2 in games decided by four points or less, with the two wins coming in overtime.

Point guard Kristi Smith and small forward Johanna Solverson’s numbers have improved since conference play began. Smith averaged 11.0 points and 3.2 assists in Iowa’s 11 non-conference games. In Iowa’s six Big Ten games, she is averaging 15.3 points and 3.8 assists. Solverson averaged 5.8 points and 1.8 assists during non-league play and 10.8 points and 2.7 assists during conference action.

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

Through 17 games this year, Iowa ranks first in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.373), second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.280) and fourth in scoring defense (59.0).

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 a month. 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 73.1 percent (76-104) of its road foul shots, compared to 69.9 percent (114-163) at home. Iowa averages 6.5 more points per game, 4.3 more assists and 4.1 more rebounds at home than on the road. Here are the home and away comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSHome    .443    .351    .699    38.5    16.3    16.7    66.2Away    .422    .373    .731    34.4    12.0    18.4    59.7

The Black and Gold average 14.5 more points in their victories (69.5) than their losses (55.0). Furthermore, Iowa shoots 7.6 percent better from the foul line and pulls down 7.0 more rebounds in wins. Here are the wins and losses comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSWins    .457    .386    .735    39.7    15.9    17.0    69.5Away    .402    .320    .659    32.7    12.6    18.0    55.0

Iowa has been very accurate shooting the ball behind the arc this season. The Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten, shooting 36 percent (90-250) from 3-point range. Three Hawkeyes have combined for 79 of their 90 triples (Wendy Ausdemore, 39; Kristi Smith, 22; Johanna Solverson, 18). Iowa has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range seven 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).

Ausdemore currently ranks fifth in 3-pointers made for an Iowa junior (39).

Head Coach Lisa Bluder, the dean of Big Ten coaches, is only seven victories (493) from reaching her 500th career win. Bluder amassed 169 wins at St. Ambrose (1984-1990), 187 victories at Drake (1990-2000) and 137 at Iowa (2000-07).

Junior Wendy Ausdemore doesn’t get to the free throw line very much, only 1.5 attempts in 76 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 first in field goal percentage defense (.373), second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.280), third in 3-pointers made (5.29) and field goal percentage (.435) and fourth in scoring defense (59.0), assists (14.53), rebounds allowed (34.0) and assist/turnover ratio (0.83) in Big Ten all games rankings. Individually, Wendy Ausdemore first in 3-point field goal percentage (.429), second in 3-pointers made (2.29) and 22nd in scoring (10.6). Kristi Smith ranks ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.29), 10th in assists (3.41), 13th in scoring (12.5) and 15th in free throw percentage (.796) and 3-pointers made (1.29).

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 8.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 111 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.

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.

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 $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 Tuesday night 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.

Iowa returns home for a pair of games next week. The Hawkeyes will entertain the Purdue Boilermakers (Jan. 24) and the Michigan Wolverines (Jan. 27) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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