Hawkeyes Entertain Michigan State Thursday Night

Feb. 5, 2008

The Iowa Hawkeyes (15-7, 8-3), who are in a first place tie with Purdue and Ohio State, host the Michigan State Spartans (13-10, 5-6) Thursday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CST) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes will conclude a stretch of playing four of five home games Thursday night. Thursday will be the first game in a week for the Spartans, as they were idle Sunday. Michigan State is the last team to hand Iowa a loss (Jan. 10). Tickets are $7 for adults, while youths and UI students are free.

Iowa has won six-straight games, the longest active streak in the Big Ten. In fact, the streak equals the longest by any Big Ten team this season. Both Ohio State and Minnesota rattled off six consecutive victories earlier this season. Iowa will be gunning for a Big Ten-best seven-straight wins Thursday night.

The six-game winning streak is the longest under Coach Lisa Bluder, during Big Ten play, since Bluder’s first year (2000-01). The last time Iowa posted seven-straight wins was the 1997-98 squad — that team was the last Hawkeye squad to capture the Big Ten regular season championship.

Head Coach Lisa Bluder, the dean of Big Ten coaches, is only two victories (498) from reaching her 500th career win. Bluder amassed 169 wins at St. Ambrose (1984-1990), 187 victories at Drake (1990-2000) and 142 at Iowa (2000-07).

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 960 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 583-377 (.607). That includes a 291-144 (.669) mark in Big Ten contests and 269-81 (.769) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

? Players will be available for autographs, after the game, on the concourse.
? During the second half of every home game, one lucky Hawkeye fan will win an iPod Shuffle, while another will win an iTunes gift card during “Big Ten SuperFan T-Shirt Toss”. Each winner will be included in a final drawing at Iowa’s home finale vs. Northwestern (Feb. 28) for an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis (March 6-9).

Thursday will be the 52nd meeting between Iowa and Michigan State, with the Hawkeyes leading the series, 29-22. Iowa holds a 15-8 advantage in games played at Iowa City. Michigan State has won eight of the last nine in the series, including five straight. Iowa’s last victory (75-64) over the Spartans came in Iowa City, Jan. 9, 2006.

Michigan State won its last contest (61-58) over in-state rival Michigan, in East Lansing, last Thursday before receiving its first “bye” Sunday. The last time Michigan State won consecutive games was the end of November when it won four straight. The Spartans followed their last four Big Ten wins with a loss.

Three of Michigan State’s next four games are on the road, playing at Iowa (Feb. 7), Indiana (Feb. 14) and Penn State (Feb. 17). The Spartans are 5-6 in true road games, including a 2-3 mark during conference play.

In its last victory over the Wolverines, the difference came at the free throw line. Michigan State sank 13-15 (.867), while Michigan was only 1-1 (1.000). Allyssa DeHaan posted team highs in scoring (15), rebounding (7) and blocks (4).

DeHaan ranks sixth in Big Ten scoring (15.1) and field goal percentage (.498), fourth in rebounding (8.0), third in free throw percentage (.851) and first in blocked shots (4.22). The sophomore ranks second in the country in rejections. Freshman Kalisha Keane ranks second in team scoring (13.0) and rebounding (6.5). Freshman Britteny Thomas ranks first in team assists (4.0) and fifth in scoring (7.0).

Michigan State ranks first in Big Ten blocked shots (5.48), second in field goal percentage defense (.384) and fourth in 3-point field goal defense (.303) and free throw percentage (.726).

Suzy Merchant is in her first season (13-10, .565) as Michigan State’s head coach and seventh (214-130, .622) as a head coach.

A tale of two halves was the story as Iowa fell to Michigan State (73-65), Jan. 10, in East Lansing. Leading scorer Kristi Smith had a strong performance leading all players with 23 points on 7-11 shooting, including 4-8 from behind the arc, but couldn’t save a 13-point Hawkeye lead.

Iowa’s Johanna Solverson had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. She also added five assists before fouling out.

Michigan State took a 9-4 lead behind a strong inside hook shot by Allyssa DeHaan. DeHaan later picked up her second foul and was taken out of the game at the 12:08 mark of the first half.

Iowa then went on a 14-4 run fueled by Smith with two 3-pointers to lead 18-13. Smith shot a perfect 5-5 from the field including 3-3 from behind the 3-point line to score 13 first-half points.

Iowa also got strong first half performances from Stacy Schlapkohl and Solverson. Schlapkohl scored eight points on 4-4 shooting and Solverson scored seven points and grabbed two rebounds. It was Iowa’s offensive efficiency and hot shooting by Smith, Solverson and Schlapkohl that resulted in a 13-point halftime advantage.

Michigan State began the second half with an 11-4 run to cut Iowa’s lead to 39-33 during the first four minutes of play. Iowa’s first four points of the half came from Schlapkohl, who finished with 12 points making 6-7 field goals.

DeHaan continued her foul trouble in the second half and scored only eight points and grabbed six rebounds in the game, Michigan State got a huge performance from Brittney Thomas who scored a career-high 18 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Spartan guard Courtney Davidson also added 18 points.

Michigan State scored 51 points in the second half, including a 22-8 run from the 12:28 mark to the 3:58 mark to take a 59-58 lead. The Spartans never looked back as they used great play from Davidson and Thomas to take control of the game and give the Spartans a 73-65 win.

? Iowa is tied with Ohio State and Purdue for first place in the Big Ten standings. The Boilermakers and Buckeyes play at West Lafayette Thursday.
? Megan Skouby averages 14.3 points in six games vs. Michigan State. Skouby scored a career-high 27 points (12-20 FG, 3-4 FT) vs. the Spartans her freshman year, which was Iowa’s last win over Michigan State. Kristi Smith averages 11.2 points and 3.3 assists during her career against the Spartans.
? Iowa boasts a 10-3 record in home games, including 5-1 in Big Ten play.
? Both Iowa and Michigan State competed at the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico (Nov. 21-23), but did not play each other.
? Iowa senior Jenee Graham and Michigan State freshman Brittany Thomas were teammates at Bolingbrook High School (Illinois).
? The Hawkeyes have defeated every Big Ten team at least once this season, except Michigan State and Ohio State.
? Iowa is 15-2 when scoring 60 points or more and 13-1 when having a higher field goal percentage than the opposition.
? Iowa has held 12 opponents to 58 points or less this season (10-2).
? Kristi Smith has netted 15 points, or more, a team-best nine times this year.
? Iowa has begun playing its final 10 regular season games, a statistic that the NCAA Committee looks at when determining at-large berths for the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes have started this final stretch 3-0.
? Iowa has three wins over top-45 RPI rated teams (Minnesota, 29; Purdue, 41; Penn State, 43). The Hawkeyes are 49th in the latest RPI rankings, while Michigan State is 51st.
? Iowa is 115-15 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. The Hawkeyes have led at half in nine of their 12 conference games this year. Iowa is 96-19 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 44-3 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). Johanna Solverson has dished out seven dimes each of Iowa’s last two games (Northwestern and Indiana).
? 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).

Iowa has three active players who have scored over 900 points in their career: Johanna Solverson (984), Megan Skouby (962) and Kristi Smith (900). Solverson ranks 23rd in career scoring at Iowa, followed by Skouby (24th) and Smith (27th). Smith is five points from moving past Steph Schueler (902) and Sue Beckwith (904) into 25th place.

Iowa used an 11-3 run midway through the first half to build a double-digit lead and never looked back en route to an 81-65 win over Indiana Sunday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It was the only regular season meeting between the two teams.

A trio of juniors fueled the Hawkeyes: Megan Skouby, Kristi Smith and Wendy Ausdemore. Skouby recorded her first career doubled-double totaling 16 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Smith netted a team-high 17 points and equaled a personal best with five steals. Ausdemore added 16 points, bolstered by 4-5 shooting from behind the arc, and five rebounds.

Iowa led by three at intermission (36-33), but scored seven-straight points to start the second half.

The Black and Gold boasted a +18 rebounding margin (44-26). The Hawkeyes have out-rebounded five opponents during their six-game winning streak.

? Sunday’s 16-point victory was Coach Bluder’s 498th career win.
? Iowa improved to 38-14 all-time against the Hoosiers. The Hawkeyes also improve to 21-3 in home games against Indiana. Iowa has won seven of the last nine in the series, including 11-consecutive in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
? Sophomore JoAnn Hamlin matched a season high scoring 12 points. She also had seven rebounds.
? Iowa equaled a career high with 10 triples, making 50 percent of its attempts (20). The Hawkeyes also made 10 vs. Northern Illinois (Dec. 8).
? Iowa attempted a season-high 32 free throws, besting 31 attempts vs. Northern Iowa and Wisconsin.
? Johanna Solverson scored only four points, but did collect seven rebounds and seven assists. Solverson has dished out five assists or more in five of the last seven contests.
? Two Hawkeyes drained four 3-pointers (Kristi Smith and Wendy Ausdemore).
? Iowa recorded 10 steals against the Hoosiers, one shy of a season high.

Iowa is in a three-way tie for first place with Ohio State and Purdue with 8-3 conference records. This is the latest, in a single-season, the Hawkeyes have been in first place under Coach Bluder. The last time Iowa was in first place this late in the season was 1998, when the Black and Gold last won a regular season title.

Since Big Ten Conference play began, Iowa ranks first in rebounds allowed (34.2) and rebounding margin (+5.0) and second in rebounding (38.5) and offenive rebounding (14.36).

Iowa boasted a +18 rebounding margin (44-26) in its win over Indiana Sunday. The Hawkeyes have out-rebounded five opponents during the six-game winning streak.

Iowa’s leading rebounder, Jenee Graham (5.3), comes off the bench. In fact, Iowa has four players (Graham, Krista VandeVenter, Wendy Ausdemore and Johanna Solverson) who average better than 4.0 boards per contest.

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

Through 22 games this year, Iowa ranks first in conference field goal percentage defense (.379), second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.295) and third in scoring defense (58.9).

Sixth-year senior Johanna Solverson has played well the last month. In Iowa’s last nine games, the native of Lake Zurich, IL, averaged 11 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

Solverson helped lead Iowa to five victories the last 14 days (Illinois, Purdue, Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana). The senior had five assists in each of Iowa’s wins over Illinois and Purdue. She amassed seven assists and seven rebounds in each of Hawkeye victories over Northwestern and Indiana. Solverson led all scorers with a career-high 28 points in a five-point triumph over Michigan.

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

Smith averaged 11 points and 3.2 assists in Iowa’s 11 non-conference games. In Iowa’s 12 Big Ten games, she is averaging 15.5 points and 3.1 assists. Furthermore, she is averaging 16.8 points and 2.6 assists the last eight games.

Solverson, a team co-captain, averaged 5.8 points and 1.8 assists during non-league play and 10.7 points and 3.7 assists during conference action. She is Iowa’s assists leader during conference play.

Iowa averages6.6 more points at home than on the road. The Black and Gold also averages 3.0 more assists and 2.4 more rebounds at home than on the road. Here are the home and away comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSHome    .438    .377    .723    38.1    16.2    16.3    67.5Away    .420    .363    .728    35.7    13.2    17.4    60.9

The Black and Gold average 14.4 more points in their victories (69.4) than their losses (55.0). Furthermore, Iowa shoots 8.5 percent better from the foul line and pulls down 6.4 more rebounds in wins. Here are the wins and losses comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSWins    .444    .393    .744    39.1    16.1    16.2    69.4Losses  .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 third in the Big Ten, shooting 37.2 percent (126-339) from 3-point range. Three Hawkeyes have combined for 111 of their 126 triples (Wendy Ausdemore, 52; Kristi Smith, 35; Johanna Solverson, 26). Iowa has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range 10 times this year, including a season-best 62.5 percent (10-16) against Northern Illinois. Iowa was 10-20 (.500) in its last contest vs. Indiana. Last season, Iowa ranked third nationally in 3-point shooting percentage (.402).

Ausdemore is tied with Kristi Faulkner for second place for 3-pointers made by an Iowa junior (52). Lindsey Meder ranks first for Hawkeye juniors with 68, established during the 2000-01 season. Ausdemore’s 3-point percentage (.434) ranks 12th in the country. She has attempted the third most triples amongst the nation’s leaders.

Junior Wendy Ausdemore doesn’t get to the free throw line very much, only 1.6 attempts in 81 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.

Ausdemore has missed only 14 free throws in her career (.889, 112-126). 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 third in eight Big Ten statistical categories: field goal percentage (.431), assists (15.0), 3-point field goal percentage (.372), scoring margin (+6.0), rebounds allowed (33.4), rebounding margin (+3.7), scoring defense (58.9) and assist/turnover ratio (0.89). The Hawkeyes also rank first in field goal percentage defense (.379) and second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.295) and 3-pointer made (5.73). Individually, Wendy Ausdemore ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.437), second in 3-pointers made (2.36) and 20th in scoring (11.0). Kristi Smith ranks seventh in 3-pointers made (1.59) and 3-point field goal percentage (.350), ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.25) and free throw percentage (.792) and 11th in assists (3.19) and scoring (13.1).

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).

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, 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 116 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 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, while single-session tickets range from $12-16. 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 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 hit the road for a contest at Penn State on Sunday. Tip-off is slated for 11:05 a.m. (CST). The game will be telveised on the Big Ten Network (HD). Iowa will remain on the road on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) when it travels to Purdue for a 6:05 p.m. (CST) scheduled start.

Complete Release in PDF Format

Click HERE for the Big Ten Network home page.