Iowa seniors say so long with 68-42 win over 'Cats

Feb. 28, 2008

Box Score | Quotes | Notes | Photo Gallery

by Derek Sawvell

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was a memorable final night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the University of Iowa women’s basketball seniors. Iowa’s five seniors — Abby Emmert, Jenee Graham, Johanna Solverson, Stacy Schlapkohl and Krista VandeVenter — celebrated with a 68-42 victory over Northwestern. With the win, Iowa finished the season 13-3 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena while moving its record to 19-9 overall and 12-5 in Big Ten play. Northwestern fell to 5-24, 1-16.

“You want it to happen this way like it happened tonight,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.

The Hawkeyes remain in a tie for first place in the Big Ten with Ohio State, adding importance for their upcoming road game at Wisconsin on March 2.

“Tonight was a warm-up for Sunday,” UI junior Wendy Ausdemore said. “We talked about coming out strong right away. It was a great team effort.”

“It’s exciting,” Solverson said. “We want to leave a legacy. It shows all the hard work we’ve put in.”

Ausdemore led the way for the Hawkeyes with 16 points and five rebounds, while Megan Skouby added 14 points. Solverson scored 13 points, grabbed four rebounds and added six assists. Iowa had a season-high 14 steals on the night and 21 assists along with out-rebounding Northwestern 41-35.

“I love that kind of passing and those kinds of numbers,” Bluder said.

Iowa opened the game on an 8-2 run behind crisp passing and cutting to the basket by Solverson, who scored a layup during the game’s first 10 seconds, followed by a hand-off assist to Stacy Schlapkohl on the Hawkeyes’ next possession. Solverson added the next four points for the Hawkeyes on two more layups. Meanwhile, Northwestern’s only line of offense was a jumper by Amy Jaeschke.

Jaeschke would hit two more buckets for the Wildcats to cut the Iowa lead to 13-10 before the Hawkeyes went on a 13-0 scoring run. Contributing to that streak was Megan Skouby with four quick points, JoAnn Hamlin with a jump shot, Solverson with a three-pointer, Schlapkohl with an inside bucket and Kristi Smith capping it off by hitting her first shot of the night.

“We came out and showed a dominant effort right off the bat,” Bluder said. “We feel good about where we are right now.”

Iowa shot 48.3 percent for the half (14-29) while holding Northwestern to 25 percent (8-32). Iowa’s lead grew to as many as 21 (35-14) before Northwestern’s Meshia Reed hit a three-pointer to cut the Iowa lead to 35-17 at halftime.

The Hawkeyes were led by Ausdemore with seven points and five rebounds in the half. Solverson added nine points while Skouby added eight. Jaeschke led the Wildcats with eight points and five rebounds and Northwestern would only get point contributions from three other players in the half.

Ausdemore came out firing in the second half, hitting back-to-back three pointers to push the Iowa lead to 41-19. Northwestern’s Ellen Jaeschke scored the first six points of the half for the Wildcats while Amy Jaeschke added five more within the first nine minutes of the half yet Iowa maintained its lead 47-28. Amy Jaeschke finished the night with 15 points and 11 rebounds while Ellen Jaeschke finished with eight points and four rebounds.

Throughout much of the late minutes of the second half, Bluder played all five seniors on the court at the same time. After three straight baskets by VandeVenter, Graham and Emmert, Iowa had its largest lead of the night (28) 62-34 with 4:36 left in the game.

During the last three minutes of the game, Bluder took each senior out one-by-one leading to a continuous standing ovation from the home crowd. Iowa maintained its lead by shooting 48.2 percent (27-56) for the game while continuing to hold Northwestern to poor shot selection, leading to 29 percent (18-62) for the evening, resulting in a 68-42 win.

Afterward, Iowa’s seniors were honored at center court with bouquets of flowers and a video tribute.

“I’m surprised I didn’t cry,” Solverson said. “It’s exactly what we wanted.”

Iowa’s matchup with Wisconsin has a scheduled tip-time of 12:05 p.m. in Madison.

Click HERE for the Big Ten Network home page.