'Grandma' Solverson leads Iowa to fourth straight win

Jan. 27, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa — When the University of Iowa women’s basketball team was faced with a 10-4 deficit just five minutes into its game with Michigan on Sunday, the Hawkeyes turned to a logical option to bring some life.


Grandma is how UI players affectionately refer to sixth-year senior Johanna Solverson. Solverson scored 15 consecutive points from the 13:23 mark until 6:13 remained in the first half, taking Iowa from a six-point deficit to a 19-16 lead. During that run she sank three three-point field goals.

“With my first shot being a layup built up my confidence,” Solverson said. “Hitting your first couple you start getting into a groove and things started working out.”

Solverson saved some heroics for the end of the game as well. She netted 10 straight points from the 5:44 mark until 2:56 remained in the game. By the time Solverson was done scoring, the Hawkeyes had an insurmountable 63-58 lead. Iowa went on to win its fourth consecutive game, 66-61, and moved to 13-7 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten Conference.

Solverson’s impressive final line included a career-high 28 points on 9 of 18 shooting (4 of 10 from three-point), 6 of 6 free throws, five rebounds and two steals.

“I walked into the locker room and told her way to go,” UI junior Wendy Ausdemore said. “Johanna kept us in the game in the first half. Everything was falling for her.”

“I’m so happy for (Johanna) with everything she’s gone through,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “To see how hard she has worked and rehabbed for two years (coming back from two ACL surgeries). In the first half she kept us in the game and then (in the second half) she got us to the free throw line and came through. I’m just really, really happy for her.”

It is the sixth time this season that Solverson has scored in double digits and her first performance with 20 or more points. Her previous career best was 23 points at Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Dec. 28, 2004. She spent the first five games this season coming off the bench, but has started the last 15 times.

Michgan head coach Kevin Borseth was asked why Solverson was such a difficult match-up.

“She’s 6-2. She can shoot,” Borseth said. “I give them credit. They didn’t turn the ball over, they were solid and they made shots.”

Bluder spoke several times before the game on how Iowa wanted revenge against the Wolverines after Michigan overcame a halftime deficit to defeat the Hawkeyes 63-46 on Dec. 30 in Ann Arbor. On a personal level, it was also an opportunity for Solverson to show the Wolverines that she is a better player than her three-point, two-rebound effort in the first meeting. In that game, Solverson was 1 of 7 from the field.

“We definitely knew she was a shooter,” said Michigan forward Carly Benson, who led her team with 22 points. “Her size was a difficult match-up for us. If we play them in the Big Ten tournament I think we’ll be a little more prepared for them.”

Iowa now has its first four-game conference winning streak since the 2003-04 season. The deep and balanced Hawkeyes have not only found ways to win games, but there has been several different players taking the lead during any given contest.

In consecutive win No. 4 against Michigan, the headlines belonged to Grandma.

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