Iowa Takes Seven-Game Winning Streak to Penn State

Feb. 8, 2008

The Iowa Hawkeyes (16-7, 9-3) will gun for their eighth-consecutive victory Sunday when they travel to University, Park, PA, to face the Penn State Lady Lions (13-10, 4-7). Tip-off is slated for 11:05 a.m. (CST) at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Penn State and their fans are teaming up in the fight against breast cancer, hosting its second annual “Think Pink” game. Penn State will be wearing solid pink jerseys, while Iowa will don white uniforms with pink trim.

Iowa concludes its season with four of six road games, while Penn State begins a three-game homestand Sunday. The Lady Lions have lost six of their last seven games by an average of 20.3 points.

Iowa has won seven-straight games, the longest active streak in the Big Ten. In fact, the streak is the longest by any Big Ten team this season, besting six-game winning streaks by Ohio State and Minnesota earlier this season.

The seven-game winning streak is the longest under Coach Lisa Bluder, during Big Ten play. Iowa’s 2000-01 squad strung together six straight in Bluder’s first season on the sidelines. The last time Iowa posted seven-straight wins was during the 1997-98 campaign — 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 one victory (499) from reaching her 500th career win. Bluder amassed 169 wins at St. Ambrose (1984-1990), 187 victories at Drake (1990-2000) and 143 at Iowa (2000-07).

There are currently 22 active coaches that have reached 500 career victories. Belmont’s Tony Cross and George Washington Head Coach Joe McKeown eclipsed 500 wins since January.

Sunday’s contest will be televised live to a national cable audience on the Big Ten Network (HD). Paul Alexander and former Illinois Head Coach Theresa Grentz will call the action. It will be Iowa’s seventh of eight regular season games to be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call Sunday’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 961 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 584-377 (.608). That includes a 292-144 (.670) mark in Big Ten contests and 270-81 (.769) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Sunday will be the 33rd meeting between Iowa and Penn State, with the Lady Lions leading the series 19-13. Penn State holds an 11-3 advantage in games played in University Park, including winning the last four. The Hawkeyes’ last triumph (96-81) at Penn State came on Feb. 10, 2002. Penn State (.594) and Purdue (.538) are the only conference teams to have a winning percentage above .500 against Iowa.

Iowa has won the last two contests in the series, with both victories coming at Iowa City.

Ten of Penn State’s 13 victories have come on its home court. However, the Lady Lions have lost two (Purdue and Wisconsin) of their last three home games.

Penn State lost its last contest, 68-53, at Michigan Thursday night. The Lady Lions led by as many a nine in the first half, but the Wolverines shot 66.7 percent (16-24) from the field the final 20 minutes en route to victory. Kam Gissendanner scored a team-high 16 points, while Tyra Grant added 13 to pace the Lady Lions.

The Lady Lions are the only Big Ten team to have four players average double figures in scoring. Grant ranks seventh in league scoring (14.4) and first in team blocks (0.9). Brianne O’Rourke ranks second in team scoring (11.9) and first in Big Ten assists (4.74). Gissendanner ranks third in team scoring (11.8), while Mashea Williams ranks fourth (10.9).

Penn State ranks second in Big Ten free throw percentage (.758) and 3-point field goal defense (.299) and sixth in scoring offense (64.7) and blocked shots (3.7).

The Lady Lions average 5,088 fans per contest at the Bryce Jordan Center. Over 8,800 fans attended last year’s “Think Pink” event vs. Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes played in front of 5,528 fans at Minnesota (Jan. 3) and won in overtime (68-66).

Penn State Head Coach Coquese Washington is in her first season (13-10, .565) as a collegiate head coach.

Two huge second-half plays by Krista VandeVenter helped the Hawkeyes to a conference-opening 67-58 victory over Penn State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Dec. 28, 2007.

With 17:25 left and the shot clock ticking toward zero, VandeVenter calmly lofted a 25-footer that found nothing but net and gave the Hawkeyes a 41-27 lead. Then, with 4:45 remaining and the Lady Lions within eight points (55-47), Penn State’s Brianne O’Rourke raced up court with an apparent fast break, but VandeVenter held her ground defensively and drew a charging foul.

Although VandeVenter’s heroics came at opportune moments, this was far from a one-player performance by the Hawkeyes. Kristi Smith poured in a game-high 19 points and Johanna Solverson added 16. Smith (3-7) and Solverson (2-7) combined to make 5-14 from 3-point range. VandeVenter chipped in with eight points, 12 rebounds and three steals. JoAnn Hamlin also added eight points for Iowa.

The Hawkeye defense played well, holding Penn State to 33.3 percent shooting from the field (18-54).

Iowa grabbed 23 rebounds in the second half — 11 on the offensive end. For the game the Hawkeyes shot 36.9 percent (24-65) from the field.

Iowa forced 17 first-half turnovers and sprinted to a 34-24 halftime advantage. VandeVenter and Solverson benefitted most from the Lady Lion miscues, swiping three steals apiece. Smith added two steals.

Iowa attempted 12 more field goals than Penn State during the first 20 minutes (39-27) and had a 10-point cushion despite being out-rebounded 26-19. But the most telling statistic in the early going was in the turnover category, where the Hawkeyes were plus-11.

? Iowa scored 96 points in its 15-point win at Penn State in 2002. The 96 points are the most-ever scored by a Lady Lion opponent at the Bryce Jordan Center.
? Iowa has had seven players lead the team in scoring at least once during the season (Kristi Smith, Wendy Ausdemore, Megan Skouby, Krista VandeVenter, Stacy Schlapkohl and Lindsey Nyenhuis).
? Iowa’s Johanna Solverson has dished out seven or more assists the last three games. She is tied with former Hawkeye Jolette Law (current Illinois coach) for sixth in Iowa career assists (353).
? Iowa has three players average double figures vs. Penn State in their career: Kristi Smith (14.5), Megan Skouby (11.0) and Wendy Ausdemore (10.0).
? Iowa boasts an 11-3 record in home games, including 6-1 in Big Ten play.
? The Hawkeyes have defeated every Big Ten team at least once this season, except Ohio State.
? Iowa is 16-2 when scoring 60 points or more and 14-1 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 4-0.
? Iowa has two wins over top-40 RPI rated teams (Minnesota, 27 and Purdue, 37). Iowa ranks 40th in the latest ratings, while Penn State is 52nd.
? Iowa is 116-15 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. The Hawkeyes have led at half in 10 of their 13 conference games this year. Iowa is 97-19 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 players who have scored over 900 career points: Johanna Solverson (1,002), Megan Skouby (968) and Kristi Smith (912). Solverson ranks 23rd in career Iowa scoring, followed by Skouby (24th) and Smith (26th). Smith is 24 points from moving past Randi Peterson (936) into 25th.

After trailing 5-0 to start the game, Iowa scored 14-straight points and never looked back en route to a 82-64 victory over Michigan State Thursday in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes avenged its last loss to the Spartans (Jan. 10), which was their last setback. Iowa has won a Big Ten-best seven-straight games. The win snapped a five-game losing skid to Michigan State.

Johanna Solverson netted 18 points and collected a season-high eight assists. The sixth-year senior became the 23rd Hawkeye to amass 1,000 career points when she drained a 3-pointer with 5:53 remaining in the game.

Juniors Wendy Ausdemore and Kristi Smith also had big games. Ausdemore led all scorers with 19 points, while Smith contributed 12.

For the third-straight game, the Black and Gold boasted a double-digit rebounding margin advantage. Iowa out-rebounded Michigan State by 13 (43-30). Five Hawkeyes totaled five rebounds or more.

Iowa had 22 assists on its 30 field goals, one shy of a season high. Additionally, the Hawkeyes drained nine triples on 19 attempts (47.4 percent).

? Thursday’s 18-point victory was Coach Bluder’s 499th career win.
? Iowa shot 55.6 percent (30-54) from the field, including a blistering 62.5 percent (15-24) in the second half. Conversely, Michigan State shot only 37.3 percent (22-59), including 17.6 percent (3-17) from 3-point territory.
? Junior Lindsey Nyenhuis returned to action for the Hawkeyes tonight after missing a month in a half with a stress fracture in her left foot. Nyenhuis, who last played Dec. 9 vs. Wyoming, scored six points on 2-3 shooting from behind the arc in five minutes.

Wendy Ausdemore and Krista VandeVenter were named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic all-District third team, Feb. 7.

Ausdemore boasts a 3.67 cumulative GPA and is majoring in business. The junior ranks second in team scoring (11.0), first in Big Ten 3-point field goal percentage (.437) and second in 3-pointers made (2.36). Ausdemore, who was recognized on the all-district second team a year ago, ranks fourth in Iowa career 3-pointers (134). The native of Neola, IA, has netted double figures in 15 of Iowa’s 22 games this season, including eight of the last 10.

VandeVenter has a 3.52 cumulative GPA and is majoring in integrative physiology. The senior has started 101 of 107 career games, averaging 7.4 points and 7.0 rebounds. VandeVenter is tied for seventh in Iowa career rebounding (745). The native of Osseo, MN, ranks 18th in Big Ten rebounding (5.5) this year.

Iowa and Minnesota were the only Big Ten teams with at least two student-athletes honored.

Since Big Ten Conference play began, Iowa ranks first in rebounds allowed (33.2) and rebounding margin (+5.7) and second in rebounding (38.8) and offenive rebounding (14.0).

Iowa boasted a +15.3 rebounding margin in its last three victories. Iowa boasted a +18 rebounding edge (49-34) at Northwestern, +18 (44-26) vs. Indiana and +13 (43-30) vs. Michigan State. The Hawkeyes have out-rebounded six opponents during the seven-game winning streak.

Iowa’s leading rebounders are Krista VandeVenter and Jenee Graham, both average 5.3 boards per contest. In fact, Iowa has four players (Graham, VandeVenter, Wendy Ausdemore and Johanna Solverson) who average better than 4.1 boards per contest.

Iowa is tied with Purdue for first place in the Big Ten standings with 9-3 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.

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

Through 23 games this year, Iowa ranks first in conference field goal percentage defense (.378) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.295) and fourth in scoring defense (59.1).

Johanna Solverson joined elite company Thursday night when she collected 18 points and eight assists. She is one of only two Hawkeyes to ever amass over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 350 assists and 175 steals (Franthea Price). Solverson currently has 1,002 points, 515 rebounds, 353 assists and 186 steals. Price totaled 1,742 points, 726 rebounds, 387 assists and 321 steals.

Sixth-year senior Johanna Solverson has played well the last month. In Iowa’s last 10 games, the native of Lake Zurich, IL, averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

Solverson has helped lead the Hawkeyes during its current seven-game winning streak. The senior has averaged 11.4 points, 5.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds during the streak. 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. She had 18 points and a season-high eight assists in Iowa’s 18-point win over Michigan State. Solverson has dished out seven or more assists the last three contests.

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 13 Big Ten games, she is averaging 15.3 points and 3.17 assists. Furthermore, she is averaging 16.2 points and 2.78 assists the last nine games.

Solverson, a team co-captain, averaged 5.8 points and 1.8 assists during non-league play and 11.3 points and 4.08 assists during conference action. She is Iowa’s assists leader during conference play.

Iowa averages 7.7 more points at home than on the road. The Black and Gold also averages 3.4 more assists and 2.7 more rebounds at home than on the road. Here are the home and away comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSHome    .446    .386    .723    38.4    16.6    16.6    68.6Away    .420    .363    .728    35.7    13.2    17.4    60.9

The Black and Gold average 15.2 more points in their victories (70.2) than their losses (55.0). Furthermore, Iowa shoots 8.4 percent better from the foul line and pulls down 6.7 more rebounds in wins. Here are the wins and losses comparisons:

    FG%  3-PT%   FT% REB AST TO  PTSWins    .451    .398    .743    39.4    16.5    16.6    70.2Losses  .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 37.7 percent (135-358) from 3-point range. Three Hawkeyes have combined for 118 of their 135 triples (Wendy Ausdemore, 55; Kristi Smith, 37; Johanna Solverson, 28). Iowa has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range 11 times this year, including a season-best 62.5 percent (10-16) against Northern Illinois. Iowa was 10-20 (.500) vs. Indiana last Sunday. Last season, Iowa ranked third nationally in 3-point shooting percentage (.402).

Ausdemore ranks second in 3-pointers made by an Iowa junior (55). Lindsey Meder ranks first for Hawkeye juniors with 68, established during the 2000-01 season. Ausdemore’s 3-point percentage (.440) ranks 12th in the country. She has attempted the third most triples amongst the nation’s leaders.

Iowa ranks in the top three in 11 Big Ten statistical categories. The Hawkeyes rank first in field goal percentage defense (.378) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.295), second in and 3-pointers made (5.87), scoring margin (+6.5), field goal percentage (.436) and rebounds allowed (33.3) and third in assists (15.3), 3-point field goal percentage (.377), rebounding margin (+4.1), defensive rebounding (25.3) and assist/turnover ratio (0.9). Individually, Wendy Ausdemore ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.440), second in 3-pointers made (2.39) and 19th in scoring (11.4). Kristi Smith ranks seventh in 3-pointers made (1.61) and 3-point field goal percentage (.349), eighth in assist/turnover ratio (1.28) and free throw percentage (.797),11th in scoring (13.2) and 12th in assists (3.17).

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, who’s next start will be the 100th of her career, 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 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 117 games.

Solverson is 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 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, 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 remain on the road on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) when it travels to Purdue for a 6:05 p.m. (CST) scheduled start. Iowa returns home to face Minnesota on Feb. 17.

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format