Feb. 21, 2008
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by Sean Neugent
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team couldn’t find its magic Thursday night and lost the battle for first place in the Big Ten Conference to No. 20 Ohio State, 69-56.
Iowa point guard Kristi Smith, who was held scoreless in the first half, put on a show in the second half, scoring 17 points to lead the Hawkeyes in scoring. Wendy Ausdemore added 13 and Johanna Solverson 10. Ohio State was led by Jantel Lavender and Ashlee Trebilcock, who each hit for 18 points. Iowa shot 20 of 52 (39 percent) from the floor, 9 of 23 (39 percent) from downtown and 7 of 8 (88 percent) from the free throw line. Ohio State finished 29 of 59 (49 percent), 6 of 12 (50 percent) and 5 of 9 (56 percent) from the line.
The Hawkeyes had trouble keeping a handle on the ball and turned it over early and often as the Buckeyes jumped out to a quick 16-5 lead, despite the fact that Ausdemore scored the first five points for Iowa.
With the loss Iowa falls to 18-9 overall and 11-5 in Big Ten action. The first place Buckeyes move to 20-6 and 11-4.
“We dug ourselves such a big hole in the first half and you can’t do that against an excellent team on the road,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It got away from us in the first half. We got within nine points a couple times in the second half, but couldn’t get any closer.”
Iowa cut the lead in half when Solverson drilled a three to make it 16-8 with 12:38 remaining in the half. Solverson hit another three with 7:25 left to make it 20-15 as the Hawkeyes slowly inched closer. Ohio State was able to get into the paint for some easy points and quickly hit Iowa with an 11 point deficit.
Turnovers continued to hurt Iowa as Ohio State jumped out to a 34-18 edge when Trebilcock hit a three-point jumper. Iowa made a mini-run to end the half when Solverson hit from downtown and a jumper and senior forward Krista VandeVenter hit a layup to make it 34-25 with 47 seconds until halftime. The Hawkeye success was short-lived as the Buckeyes scored the next five points to go into the locker room ahead, 39-25.
In the first half, Iowa shot 10 of 23 (44 percent) from the field, 5 of 10 (50 percent) from long range and did not get to the free throw line. Ohio State was 17 of 35 (49 percent), 3 of 5 (60 percent) and 2 of 4 (50 percent) from the charity stripe. Iowa was hurt by 13 turnovers that led to 16 Ohio State points. Solverson led all scorers with 13 points at the half.
“Ohio State did a good job of taking Kristi (Smith) out of the game in the first half,” Bluder said. “She got more into a rhythm when we got our offensive transition going in the second half.”
The Hawkeyes struck first in the second half when senior center Stacy Schlapkohl hit a jumper before Solverson turned it over on the next possession. Schlapkohl hit another jumper after Solverson’s turnover to pull within 11 with 18:47 remaining.
It was all Smith from that point on as she worked her way to the charity stripe twice in a row making three free throws before she drilled a trey to push Iowa within nine.
Ohio State continued to be a force to be reckoned with as Iowa could not come up with an answer. Trebilcock hit a jumper before raining in a three to go up 52-37 with 12:34 left in the game. Tamarah Riley made a lay-up before Smith hit a three as the Buckeyes led 56-40 with 10:51 left.
The Hawkeyes went on a run to cut Ohio State’s lead to nine after junior center Megan Skouby nailed a jumper for her 1,000th career point for Iowa and Smith added from downtown. Iowa could not get any closer as Ohio State ran away with it and won the battle for first place, 69-56.
Iowa has a week off before hosting Northwestern next Thursday with a 7:05 p.m. tip inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
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