Jan. 31, 2008
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EVANSTON, Ill. — Neither a Midwestern blizzard nor a road game at Northwestern could cool the hottest team in the Big Ten Conference on Thursday evening inside Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The University of Iowa women’s basketball team won for the fifth consecutive time, 70-55, against Northwestern. The Hawkeyes improved to 14-7 overall, 7-3 in conference play. Northwestern fell to 4-17, 0-9. It was Iowa’s 13th consecutive victory against the Wildcats, but more importantly, it leaves the Hawkeyes in a three-way tie for first in the Big Ten (with Ohio State and Purdue).
“I’m really happy for the team,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “They’ve worked really, really hard for this.”
Iowa senior Megan Skouby led all players with 23 points and seven rebounds. Kristi Smith and Wendy Ausdemore scored 15 points apiece. Johanna Solverson scored nine points and added seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 49-34, and made 16 of 21 free throws (76.2 percent).
Iowa opened a 23-point lead in the first half and cruised to the victory, even though Northwestern battled back in the second half and whittled 16 points off the largest deficit. Of the 25 field goals by the Hawkeyes, 19 were assisted. Iowa had 10 steals and scored 22 points off turnovers. Jenee Graham pulled down 11 rebounds (seven offensive) and handed out seven assists for Iowa.
“The first half I thought we dominated in every area,” Bluder said. “We maintained our defensive intensity.”
The teams opened the game without a point for the first 3-minutes, 18-seconds. Northwestern’s Jenny Eckhart sank the first field goal before the Hawkeyes scored the next 15 points and never looked back. Iowa was in command at halftime, 34-14.
Balance was the key for the Hawkeyes. Skouby scored 12 points in just eight minutes and she was followed in the scoring column by Ausdemore with eight and Solverson with five. Iowa pulled down 25 rebounds during the first 20 minutes, including nine offensive boards. The Hawkeyes also forced nine turnovers.
Iowa made 13 of 36 field goals (36.1 percent) and had 11 assists. The Hawkeyes had only four turnovers at the break.
Iowa will attempt to win its sixth consecutive league game on Sunday, Feb. 3, when the Hawkeyes host Indiana with a 1:05 p.m. tip.
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