Iowa Shows Dominance During 69-53 Victory

Jan. 24, 2008

Box Score | Quotes | Notes | Photo Gallery

by Sean Neugent

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The momentum train kept chugging for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team as it defeated Purdue 69-53 on Thursday evening inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

With the win, Iowa improves to 12-7 overall and 5-3 in Big Ten action. Purdue falls to 9-10, 5-3. Iowa, thriving off of adrenaline with thrilling victories over Wisconsin in overtime and a 60-58 win over Illinois on Monday, took an early lead against the Boilermakers and never looked back.

“You want to get those streaks and have momentum going in the big games,” junior center Megan Skouby said. “You know you can come from behind and still win. I think that now we have those experiences in some of the other games we have played and we know that we can win any game right now.”

The Hawkeyes steamed the Boilermakers early as they enjoyed a 14-7 lead with 14:45 remaining. Junior forward Wendy Ausdemore didn’t waste time when she drilled a three on Iowa’s first possession. Senior forward Johanna Solverson and junior guard Kristi Smith also hit from downtown early on.

Iowa kept the momentum and grabbed several offensive rebounds to extend its lead. With 11:13 remaining, reserves JoAnn Hamlin and Jenee Graham pulled down two offensive boards before Hamlin assisted Smith at the top of the arc as she nailed the trey to put Iowa up 21-9.

Purdue did its best to stay in the game when the Boilermakers’ Kalika France hit a three and a jumper, while Samantha Woods had a layup as they trailed 25-18 with 5:56 remaining. Skouby came through off the bench and had four of her nine first-half points during that stretch to end Purdue’s run.

Iowa’s stellar three-point and free throw shooting helped provide a 35-24 first-half advantage. Iowa shot 12 of 29 (41 percent) from the floor and 4 of 7 (57 percent) from downtown to go along with its perfect 7 of 7 free throw shooting. Purdue was 8 of 21 (38 percent) inside the arc and 2 of 7 (29 percent) outside, while the Boilermakers were 6 of 8 (75 percent) from the charity stripe.

The Hawkeyes also took advantage of 12 Purdue mistakes to their eight. Second-chance points helped Iowa forge the 11 point halftime lead as the Hawkeyes pulled down seven offensive boards and 18 total to Purdue’s 14. Graham’s aggressive play helped her to six first-half rebounds as she had eight on the game.

To begin the second half, the Hawkeyes continued to shoot the ball well when senior center Stacy Schlapkohl had a layup on the first possession followed by another Ausdemore trey as Iowa led 40-24 with 18:58 left. Purdue and Iowa continued to trade baskets as Iowa maintained an 11-point lead until the Boilermakers’ FahKara Malone hit a free throw to trail by 10, 45-35, with 15:20 remaining.

Iowa looked to be in trouble when Purdue started a full-court press that caused a few Hawkeye turnovers. With the mistakes, Purdue went on a run as it trailed by eight before Skouby once again hit a layup to answer and put a stop to the Boilermaker’s run.

“I want to contribute to the team anyway I can,” Skouby said. “I have been able to come in there and play some solid minutes.”

“Megan (Skouby) is shooting the ball better,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “You can look at it statistically and see that she is shooting the ball with more confidence. I think she is doing a better job of standing in the block and not getting pushed around as much, getting a little bit lower and staying in there and she has bettered that. She is just playing a little bit more confidently and more assertively.”

Iowa enjoyed a double-digit lead until 3:37 when Purdue’s Danielle Campbell hit a layup before getting fouled by Solverson, who picked up her fifth on the game, and had to make a premature exit. Purdue trailed by nine at 57-48. France rained in a three and inched even closer, 61-53, as the Hawkeyes continued to struggle with the full-court press.

Iowa finished the game shooting 22 of 52 (42 percent) from the field and 6 of 13 (46 percent) from three-point range. The Hawkeyes took advantage of the charity stripe as they went 19 of 21 (91 percent), which included several key free throws down the stretch, to put Purdue away. Purdue finished 18 of 51 (35 percent) from the floor, 5 of 20 (25 percent) from downtown and 12 of 18 (67 percent) at the free throw line. Neither team controlled the ball well as Iowa had 18 turnovers and Purdue had 23.

“The bad turnovers, timely turnovers, turnovers that we made three months ago that we shouldn’t be making now,” Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp said.

“We definitely have a lot of momentum going right now,” Skouby said. “We had a big win at Illinois, then this win over Purdue. It was a good win and we played solid basketball for 40 minutes.”

The Hawkeyes once again had an overall team effort and a huge lift from the bench. Smith paced all scorers with 19 points to go along with her six assists. Iowa’s bench had 25 points to Purdue’s seven, led by Skouby with 17 points. Ausdemore had 11 points and senior forward Krista VandeVenter added another eight.

“I thought Megan (Skouby) came in off the bench and did a great job,” Bluder said. “I thought Jenee (Graham) came in off the bench and did a wonderful job. She had eight rebounds off the bench, a couple of steals, she is all over the floor for loose balls, so very happy with both of their play. I really feel like this was a team win, it felt good, it was a lot of fun, the players had a great time out there.”

“They are a great shooting team,” Versyp said. “When they had open shots they knocked them down. We struggled from the outside. We wanted to get to the foul line a little bit more but we didn’t do that. It was a good game, we were battling, and we were down the whole time but obviously a 16-point game doesn’t show how close the game was, which was around eight or 10 points. We tried to foul them and try to make it a game.”

With the win, the Hawkeyes end a two game losing streak to the Boilermakers after getting swept in the series a year ago.

“It was fun,” Smith said. “We were getting stops on defense and that carried over on the offensive end. We were just having fun out there, when we are having fun we usually play pretty well.”

“It feels good to get a win and not have it be an overtime game or a two point game,” Bluder said. “It was good to actually have the lead and have a good convincing win. I felt we forced them into some lower percentage shots that they probably didn’t want to take and it was a great team win for us.”

Iowa will remain at home to take on Michigan on Sunday, Jan. 27, with a 2:05 p.m. tip-off.

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