March 2, 2008
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MADISON, Wis. – Super senior Johanna Solverson took matters into her own hands Sunday at the Kohl Center, scoring a career-high 31 points to lead the University of Iowa women’s basketball team to a 87-78 victory over Wisconsin and a share of the 2008 Big Ten Conference regular season crown.
Solverson sank nine of her first 10 field goal attempts en route to 21 points in the game’s first 15 minutes of play. That start helped to propel to a 27-7 lead at the 10:28 mark and a 41-30 lead at intermission.
And, while the Badgers pulled to within two twice down the stretch – thanks in good measure to 17 second-half free throws, the Hawkeyes weren’t going to be denied their first regular season conference championship in a decade.
“I was ready to come out and play today,” said Solverson, who had four three-pointers among her 12 buckets. “We wanted to finish the season with a championship and we accomplished that goal.”
“I can’t even begin to describe this! I’m so happy for this team. What an incredible game by Johanna Solverson, Megan Skouby and Kristi Smith.”
“We destroyed Wisconsin on the boards today. I’m so proud of our defense. We knew coming in her that this was going to be a dog fight. Wisconsin is a good basketball team. We shot unbelievable in the first half, I still can’t believe we shot that good,” Iowa’s veteran head coach added.
Iowa blistered the nets at a 74 percent clip during the game’s first 20 minutes, hitting 17 of 23 field goal attempts. When the game’s final buzzer sound, the Hawkeyes also held a commanding 17-rebound margin in the battle of the boards.
They also held UW’s Jolene Anderson to just 10 points – half of her season average.
Kristi Smith added 10 points and Jenee Graham 10 rebounds for Iowa, who will be the No. 2 seed in the 2008 Big Ten Conference Tournament to be staged next weekend in Indianapolis. Iowa’s first game will be Friday morning.
Megan Skouby came off the bench to score 15 points and grab four rebounds.
“I owe a lot to the coaches, the training staff and my teammates for believing in me,” added Solverson, who is completing her sixth season at the UI, a stay that has been extended by a series of knee injuries.
“I want to thank my teammates for never taking it easy on me in practice after my rehabs.”
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