Iowa Travels to Northwestern Thursday

Jan. 29, 2008

The Iowa Hawkeyes (13-7, 6-3) take a season-best four-game winning streak to Evanston, IL, Thursday, when they face the Northwestern Wildcats (4-16, 0-8). Tip-off is slated for 8:05 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Thursday will be the first of two regular season meetings. Iowa is tied for second place, while Northwestern is in 11th place in the Big Ten standings.

Thursday’s game will be televised live to a national cable audience on the Big Ten Network (HD). Dave Eanet and Patricia Babcock will call the action. It will be Iowa’s sixth of eight regular season games to be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call Thursday 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 958 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 581-377 (.606). That includes a 289-144 (.667) mark in Big Ten contests and 268-81 (.768) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Thursday will be the 51st meeting between Iowa and Northwestern, with the Hawkeyes leading the series 38-12. Iowa boasts an 18-5 advantage in games played in Evanston.

The Hawkeyes have won 12 straight in the series (all during Bluder’s tenure), including six-consecutive at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Iowa boasts a 19-point margin of victory during the winning streak, including a 22.7 point margin of victory in contests played at Evanston. The Wildcats’ last win over Iowa came at the 2000 Big Ten Tournament (53-52) in Indianapolis.

Northwestern has lost nine consecutive games. The Wildcats host Iowa (Thursday) and Purdue (Sunday) this week before returning to the road for a pair of away contests at Indiana (Feb. 7) and Minnesota (Feb. 10). The Wildcats are 2-8 in home games this season, including an 0-4 mark in Big Ten home contests.

Northwestern lost its last contest, 75-45, at Wisconsin on Sunday. The Wildcats were out-rebounded by 12 (42-30) in defeat.

Northwestern has been decimated by injuries this year as five Wildcats have sustained injuries that will prevent them from seeing game action in the near future. Kristin Cartwright and Kaitlin McInerney are out for the season with ACL tears. Sara Stutz is out for another couple weeks with a partial ACL tear. Lakhiyia Hicks and Beth Marshall are questionable with a hip and leg injury, respectively.

The Wildcats are led by a pair of freshmen: Amy Jaeschke and Meshia Reed. Jaeschke leads the team in scoring (12.5), rebounding (7.3) and blocks (2.3). She missed nine games this season due to an injury. Reed ranks second in scoring (10.3).

Northwestern ranks last in the conference in nine statistical categories. The Wildcats rank third in Big Ten blocked shots (4.15).

Beth Combs is in her fourth season (23-85, .213) as Northwestern’s head coach and seventh year overall (67-130, .340) as a head coach.

Iowa’s Megan Skouby scored Iowa’s final eight points in the final 3:08 as the Hawkeyes held on to win their 12th straight over Northwestern with a 63-61 win at Welsh-Ryan Arena, Jan. 7, 2007.

Iowa led 63-61, but Northwestern had an opportunity to tie the score. Beth Marshall’s baseline jumper with four seconds left missed and Iowa’s Jenee Graham corralled her seventh rebound to secure the victory.

Skouby had her best game of the season scoring a game and season-high 25 points on 10-17 shooting from the field and 5-5 from the foul line, and tied a career high with nine rebounds.

Iowa trailed 23-19 late in the first half, but went on a 12-2 run spanning halves to grab a six-point advantage (31-25). Leading 39-36, the Hawkeyes went on a 7-0 run to stretch their lead to 10 (46-36) midway through the second half. The Wildcats answered later in the half going on a 9-0 run to take a one-point lead (56-55) with 3:15 left, before Skouby took over.

Kristi Smith tallied 11 points and five assists and Wendy Ausdemore added 13 points and five rebounds in helping lift Iowa to its third consecutive road victory.

Northwestern had two players post double figures. A.J. Glasauer scored 12 of her team-high 17 points in the first half, while Melissa Miller netted 16 points and had eight rebounds. Kaitlin McInerney grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in defeat.

After making only two trips to the free throw line in the first half, Iowa was 11-13 (.846) from the charity stripe in the second stanza.

Iowa’s defense limited Northwestern to only 3-17 (.176) shooting from 3-point territory in the victory. The Hawkeyes attempted only six triples, but made three (.500).

? Iowa is in a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten with Purdue and Minnesota with 6-3 records. First-place Ohio State (7-2) is only one game ahead of the three teams in second place.
? Iowa’s roster is comprised of two players from the state of Illinois: Johanna Solverson (Lake Zurich) and Jenee Graham (Bolingbrook).
? Both Northwestern and Iowa played one common non-conference opponent: Georgia Tech. Both the Wildcats and Hawkeyes fell to the Yellow Jackets.
? Megan Skouby averages 19.7 points and 6.3 rebounds during her career against Northwestern. Wendy Ausdemore averages 9.3 points, while Kristi Smith averages 8.7 points and 4.7 assists. Krista VandeVenter averages 5.8 points and 8.4 rebounds.
? Iowa players have shot 88.5 percent (46-52) from the free throw line in games against Northwestern throughout their careers.
? Iowa is 13-2 when scoring 60 points or more and 12-1 when having a higher field goal percentage than the opposition.
? Iowa has held 11 opponents to 58 points or less this season (9-2).
? Kristi Smith has netted 15 points or more a team-best seven times this year.
? Iowa is in a middle of a stretch of playing four-of-five games at home, with the road contest being at Northwestern.
? Iowa has two wins over top-33 RPI rated teams (Minnesota, 24 and Penn State, 33). The Hawkeyes are 41st in the latest RPI rankings, while Northwestern is rated 213th.
? Iowa is 113-15 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. The Hawkeyes have led at half in six of their nine conference games this year. Iowa is 94-19 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 43-3 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 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 N. Illinois (87-43) tied the program’s 17th-largest margin of victory, equaling its 93-49 win over Iowa State (Nov. 29, 1987).

Sixth-year senior Johanna Solverson has really played well the last three weeks. In Iowa’s last seven games, the native of Lake Zurich, IL, averaged 12.3 points, bolstered by 12-29 (.414) shooting from long distance, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Solverson helped lead Iowa to three victories last week (Illinois, Purdue and Michigan). The senior had five assists in each of Iowa’s wins over Illinois and Purdue, while she led all scorers with a career-high 28 points in the Hawkeyes’ five-point triumph over Michigan on Sunday. Solverson shot at a 50 percent (7-14) clip from 3-point territory in the three victories.

Point guard Kristi Smith and small forward Johanna Solverson’s numbers have improved since conference play.

Smith averaged 11.0 points and 3.2 assists in Iowa’s 11 non-conference games. In Iowa’s nine Big Ten games, she is averaging 15.4 points and 3.56 assists. Furthermore, she is averaging 17.0 points, bolstered by 15-39 (.385) shooting from 3-point range, and 3.2 assists the last six games.

The team co-captain averaged 5.8 points and 1.8 assists during non-league play and 11.7 points and 3.0 assists during conference action.

Iowa matched its season-long winning streak of four with a 66-61 win over Michigan Sunday afternoon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The win kept Iowa in a second place tie with Minnesota and Purdue.

Johanna Solverson led all scorers with a career-high 28 points. Solverson netted 15 of Iowa’s 26 first-half points and scored 10-straight Hawkeye points down the stretch to propel Iowa to victory. Wendy Ausdemore scored all of her 11 points in the second stanza, while Kristi Smith added 12.

An Ausdemore 3-pointer with 14:24 left gave Iowa a 42-39 margin, which it would not relinquish. The Wolverines closed to within one point (55-54) with 4:51 remaining, but the Hawkeyes made 7-8 from the foul line and Solverson made two lay-ups down the stretch.

The Big Ten’s top-two 3-point shooting teams put on a clinic as Iowa and Michigan combined for 18 triples (nine each). The contest featured four ties and seven lead changes.

? Iowa improves to 38-11 all-time against Michigan, including 20-4 in games played at Iowa City. The Hawkeyes have won nine of the last 10 meetings against the Wolverines. Iowa avenged a loss (63-46) at Michigan earlier this season on Dec. 30.
? Michigan shot 64.3 percent (9-14) from 3-point range, while Iowa converted 39.1 percent (9-23). The Hawkeyes were one trey from equaling a season high (10 vs. Northern Illinois).
? Iowa turned the ball over a season-low nine times. The Hawkeyes’ previous low was 12 (vs. Western Illinois and Northern Illinois). Iowa forced 18 Michigan turnovers, scoring 17 points off those miscues.
? Hawkeye senior Johanna Solverson led all scorers with a career-high 28 points. The native of Lake Zurich, IL, was 9-18 (.500) from the field, 4-10 (.400) from 3-point territory, and a perfect 6-6 (1.000) from the charity striple. Solverson also collected five rebounds and two steals.
? Wendy Ausdemore was 4-6 from the field, including 3-5 from long distance in the second half. She has made at least three 3-pointers in a game eight times this season.
? Iowa had three players share team high honors with five rebounds (Krista VandeVenter, Johanna Solverson, Jenee Graham).
? Krista VandeVenter recorded a season-high four assists, besting her previous season best of two set five times.
? Iowa attempted a season-high 23 triples, making nine (.391). The Hawkeyes’ previous high was 22 (vs. Penn State).

Head Coach Lisa Bluder, the dean of Big Ten coaches, is only four victories (493) from reaching her 500th career win. Bluder amassed 169 wins at St. Ambrose (1984-1990), 187 victories at Drake (1990-2000) and 140 at Iowa (2000-07).

Iowa averages 6.6 more points at home than on the road. The Black and Gold also have a higher 3-point percentage on the road (.395) than at home (.364). Iowa averages 3.5 more assists and 3.6 more rebounds at home than on the road. Here are the home and away comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSHome    .437    .364    .724    37.6    16.0    16.2    66.4Away    .431    .395    .722    34.0    12.5    18.3    59.8

The Black and Gold average 13.5 more points in their victories (68.5) than their losses (55.0). Furthermore, Iowa shoots 8.7 percent better from the foul line and pulls down 5.3 more rebounds in wins. Here are the wins and losses comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSWins    .452    .403    .746    38.0    15.7    16.5    68.5Losses  .402    .320    .659    32.7    12.6    18.0    55.0

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

Through 20 games this year, Iowa ranks first in conference field goal percentage defense (.375), second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.296) and third in scoring defense (58.8).

Iowa has been very accurate shooting the ball behind the arc this season. The Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten, shooting 37.6 percent (112-298) from 3-point range. Three Hawkeyes have combined for 99 of their 112 triples (Wendy Ausdemore, 46; Kristi Smith, 30; Johanna Solverson, 25). Iowa has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range nine 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 (46).

Junior Wendy Ausdemore doesn’t get to the free throw line very much, only 1.6 attempts in 79 games the last three years, but rarely misses when she toes the line. She equaled her season high with six free throw attempts (making five) in Iowa’s win over Purdue last Thursday.

Ausdemore has missed only 12 free throws in her career (.893, 109-122). 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 (.375), second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.296), field goal percentage (.435) and 3-pointers made (5.6), third in assists (14.6), 3-point field goal percentage (.376) and scoring margin (+5.0), fourth in rebounds allowed (33.8) and scoring defense (58.8) and assist/turnover ratio (0.86) in Big Ten all games rankings. Individually, Wendy Ausdemore second in 3-point field goal percentage (.434) and 3-pointers made (2.3) and 23rd in scoring (10.6). Kristi Smith ranks eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (.333), ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.29), 10th in assists (3.35), free throw percentage (.800) and 3-pointers made (1.5) and 12th in scoring (13.0).

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. Solverson has played with 27 different players during her six years at Iowa.

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 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 114 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.

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.

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 the last nine contests since being injured.

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 will honor and celebrate the completion of playing 25 seasons in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Sunday, Feb. 3 in the Hawkeyes’ game vs. Indiana. There will be a special ceremony at halftime.

Coincidentally, Feb. 3 is the 23rd anniversary of the Iowa-Ohio State game where 22,157 fans packed the arena and shattered an NCAA women’s basketball attendance record.

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 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, 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 and then clicking on the `Gametracker’ link.

“HAWK TALK WITH Lisa Bluder”
Catch “Hawk Talk with Lisa Bluder”, the radio call-in program Monday 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.

The Hawkeyes return home to host another pair of games against Indiana Sunday and Michigan State (Feb. 7).

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

Click HERE for the Big Ten Network home page.