Hawkeyes Open Regular Season Sunday

Nov. 12, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format

The Iowa Hawkeyes (0-0) open the 2008-09 season Sunday with a home game against Texas State (0-0). Tip-off is slated for 2:05 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are $9 for adults, $5 for youths, while UI students are admitted free.

Present your Penn State or Purdue football stub at the ticket window for one free admission to Sunday’s contest vs. Texas State. There will also be a pre-game Kids Fun Zone on the north concourse and post-game player autographs.

Senior Kristi Smith will be honored with a souvenir basketball to commemorate her 1,000th career point. She scored it last March against Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. Also, the Hawkeyes will unveil their Big Ten championship and NCAA Tournament banner, which is located in the rafters in the southwest corner of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Season ticket prices are $90 for the general public and $76 for UI faculty. Regular season single-game tickets are $9 for adults, $5 for youths and UI students are admitted free with student I.D. Also, children, 18-years-and-under, will be admitted free for all weekday home games.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call Sunday afternoon’s game for the Hawkeye Radio Network. Hawkeye fans can listen to the contest on KXIC 800-AM in Iowa City. Balbinot is in his fifth season as Iowa’s play-by-play voice, while Till is in her fourth providing analysis. Hawkeye fans can also follow the game via live stats (gametracker). The `GT’ link can be accessed under the `Calender’ tab on the front page of hawkeyesports.com or on the women’s basketball schedule page.

Iowa has played 969 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 588-381 (.607). That includes a 295-146 (.669) mark in Big Ten contests and 272-81 (.771) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa is a perfect 8-0 in season openers under Head Coach Lisa Bluder. Sunday will mark the seventh time in the last eight years the Hawkeyes will open the season at home. The Black and Gold boast a +17.9 margin of victory in the last eight season openers.

Last season, Iowa won a share of the Big Ten regular season conference championship with Ohio State. The title is the program’s ninth, the second-most behind Ohio State (11). Iowa lost to eventual champion Purdue (80-73) in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Last year marked the first time since the 2004-05 season (Michigan State and Ohio State) that there were co-champions. The Hawkeyes won of 11 of their last 13 regular season contests, including eight straight during conference play. The eight-game winning streak was the longest by any Big Ten team throughout the season. Furthermore, Iowa won a Big Ten-best five league road games.

Texas State will open its season at Drake (Friday) before traveling to Iowa City. The Bobcats return 13 letterwinners, including two starters from a team that went 21-11 a year ago, including a 14-2 first place finish in the Southland Conference. Texas State’s 15-player roster features junior Megan Homan, who hails from Remsen, IA. Homan transferred to Texas State this year after playing two seasons at Des Moines Area CC. There are five seniors on the Maroon and Gold’s 2008-09 roster. The Bobcats’ top returnees include juniors Aimee Hilburn and Victoria Davis and senior Ashley Cole. Davis averaged 7.4 points, Hilburn averaged 7.1 points and 6.2 rebounds, and Cole averaged 11.4 points and 4.0 boards. Sophomore Gabriell Mattox will likely start Sunday at forward, seeing game action for the first time in two years after transferring from the University of Texas. Last year, Texas State had one of the best 3-point threats in the nation. Joyce Ekworomadu, who was a senior last year, made 82-188 (.436) to rank seventh nationally in percentage. Iowa’s Wendy Ausdemore, who was a junior last season, ranked third (78-171, .456). Texas State is coached by Suzanne Fox, who enters her 17th year (259-201, .563) as a head coach and her 12th (142-168, .458) with the Bobcats.

Sunday will be the first meeting between Iowa and Texas State. Also, it marks only the Hawkeyes’ fourth game against a current team of the Southland Conference. Iowa is 2-1 against Stephen F. Austin and 0-1 vs. Northwestern State (LA).

Iowa beat Quincy (88-57) and Upper Iowa (74-54) in its two exhibition games. Senior Wendy Ausdemore averaged 17.5 points and 3.0 assists, senior Megan Skouby averaged 15.5 points and 11 rebounds and freshman Kamille Wahlin averaged 10 points, five rebounds and five assists in the two games. Junior JoAnn Hamlin, who did not play in the first exhibition contest due to injury, played 19 minutes against Upper Iowa. She collected 10 points, six rebounds and four assists. In the two games, Iowa shot 33-43 (.767) from the charity stripe and averaged 21.5 assists.

Senior Wendy Ausdemore enters this season with 948 points, just 52 shy of 1,000. Teammates Megan Skouby and Kristi Smith accomplished the feat last season as juniors.

Iowa enters the 2008-09 campaign, its 35th season, with 589 overall wins and 296 Big Ten Conference victories. Additionally, Coach Bluder, who won her 500th a year ago, enters this season with 148 Iowa victories.

Iowa received one vote in the preseason Associated Press poll and three votes in the preseason USA Today/Coaches poll.

The Big Ten Conference and Iowa Hawkeye women’s basketball fans will enjoy unprecedented coverage in 2008-09. A minimum of seven games will be televised to a national cable audience, six on the Big Ten Network and another on ESPN. Iowa will also have some games broadcast locally in Eastern Iowa on KCRG. Also, a minimum of 10 Iowa Big Ten games will be streamed, free of charge, on www.bigtennetwork.com. Plus, Iowa’s three games at the Paradise Jam (Nov. 27-29) will be streamed on www.paradisejam.com for a small fee.

Iowa has been picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten by the league coaches and fifth by a selected media panel. The coaches picked Purdue to win the conference, while the media selected Ohio State. The Buckeyes have won outright, or shared, the last four regular season conference titles. Ohio State sophomore Jantel Lavender was selected as the pre-season Player of the Year by both voting groups.

Iowa returns eight letterwinners, including two starters from a team that finished 21-11 overall, tied for first in the Big Ten with a 13-5 mark and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. Returning starters include point guard Kristi Smith and small forward Wendy Ausdemore. Iowa also returns part-time starter Megan Skouby.

Kristi Smith was a 2008 first team all-Big Ten performer, Wendy Ausdemore earned honorable mention accolades, while Megan Skouby was named the league’s first “Sixth Player of the Year” award winner. Furthermore, Smith was an honorable mention all-American.

Coach Bluder sees similarities between this season’s senior and freshman classes. This year’s senior class was asked, in 2005-06, to step-up and make an immediate impact when they were freshmen. Iowa’s freshman class this year will, again, be asked to provide depth and will likely play a pivotal role in the team’s success.

Iowa made 116 three-pointers a year ago, which is the most-ever by a Big Ten team during conference play. For the season, the Hawkeyes made 194-506 (.389), which ranks third in school history for percentage. The 197 triples were only two from equaling the school single-season record of 199 set in 2001-02.

The Hawkeyes were a perfect 5-0 during conference play in games decided by five points or less in 2007-08. Iowa won two overtime contests: at Minnesota (68-66) and at home vs. Wisconsin (78-74). Iowa edged out Minnesota (72-69) and Michigan (66-61) in Iowa City and Illinois (60-58) at Champaign.

The defending Big Ten co-champion Hawkeyes will play 20 of 29 regular season games against teams that competed in 2008 post-season tournaments, including six teams (eight games) that participated in the NCAA tournament. Iowa will play 16 home regular season contests (two exhibitions) and will also host one of 16 sites for the 2009 NCAA Tournament in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, March 22 and 24, 2009. Four Iowa opponents are ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll (No. 8 Duke, No. 9 California, No. 18 Ohio State and No. 23 Purdue).

Wendy Ausdemore enters her senior season with her name all over the Hawkeye record books for 3-point shooting. The native of Neola, IA, enters the campaign 160-378 (.423). Her career shooting accuracy from beyond the arc currently ranks first in the Big Ten and Hawkeye record books. Former Ohio State Buckeye Caity Matter (270-657, .411) ranks second, while former Hawkeye Lindsey Meder (261-644, .405) is third. Ausdemore’s 160 treys ranks second in Iowa annals behind Meder’s 261. Last season, Ausdemore was 78-171 (.456), with her percentage ranking third in the nation, and first among players with over 150 attempts. Also, Ausdemore made a school-best 62 triples as a sophomore and 78 as a junior.

Iowa broke two school records in 2007-08: field goal percentage in a half (73.9 percent at Wisconsin) and consecutive 3-pointers made in a game (seven vs. Minnesota). Additionally, Wendy Ausdemore tied her own Carver-Hawkeye Arena record, making six triples vs. Purdue.

Iowa’s 2008-09 roster features four players from the state of Iowa (Wendy Ausdemore, Kelsey Cermak, Kelly Krei and Nicole VanderPol). The Hawkeyes also have three players from Minnesota (Kachine Alexander, Hannah Draxten and Kamille Wahlin). Iowa’s 13-person roster also features players from Ohio (Shante Jones and Megan Skouby), Colorado (Kristi Smith), Kansas (JoAnn Hamlin) and Michigan (Lindsey Nyenhuis).

Hannah Draxten, Shante Jones, Kelly Krei and Kamille Wahlin join the Hawkeye roster as freshmen. Draxten was a varsity starter since eighth grade, starting 131 consecutive games for Fergus Falls High School. She was the team’s leading scorer all five years and holds nine Fergus Falls High School records. Draxten was a three-time Minnesota Coaches Association Class AAA first team all-state selection. She boasted career averages of 18.1 points and 7.9 rebounds and led her team to a 23-6 record, a Section 8AAA title and her high school’s first-ever state tournament appearance her senior season. Wahlin led Crookston High School to a third-place finish at the Minnesota Class AA state tournament as a senior. She averaged 19.8 points, 6.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 steals her senior campaign. Wahlin was named the Minnesota Breakdown Magazine Player of the Year as a senior. Additionally, she was the 2008 Miss Minnesota Basketball finalist finishing her career averaging 17.2 points, 5.1 assists, 2.9 steals and 3.9 rebounds. As Crookston’s starting point guard for four-plus seasons, the Pirates were 114-18. Krei was named the 2008 Iowa Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, playing for City High in Iowa City. She was a first team all-state honoree her freshman, junior and senior seasons and was a second team selection as a sophomore. Krei amassed 1,734 points, 743 rebounds, 256 assists, 243 steals and 151 blocks in 95 career games. Jones played her first two years at Stivers School for the Arts and competed for Carroll High School the last two seasons. She was a first team all-district and all-Ohio Division II honorable mention her senior year. Jones was named her team’s MVP as a senior. She scored 1,809 career points and shared the conference lead in scoring her senior year.

Iowa had three players eclispe the 1,000-point plateau a year ago: Johanna Solverson, Megan Skouby and junior Kristi Smith. Last season marked the first time in the program’s 34-year history three players reached the 1,000-point plateau in the same season. Solverson scored 18 points in a home win over Michigan State (Feb. 7, 2008). The native of Lake Zurich, IL, reached 1,000 points in 117 games. Skouby scored six points at No. 20 Ohio State (Feb. 21, 2008) to become the 24th Hawkeye to amass 1,000 career points. Skouby, who is a native of Mentor, OH, accomplished the feat in only 82 games and she did so in front of family and friends. Smith netted 19 points vs. Purdue (March 8, 2008) to become the 25th Iowa player to tally 1,000 points. The Thornton, CO, native accomplished the feat in 90 contests.

? Iowa boasted a 13-3 record in home games, including 8-1 in Big Ten play a year ago.
? The Hawkeyes defeated every Big Ten team at least once in 2008-09, except Ohio State (0-2).
? Kristi Smith netted 15 points, or more, a team-best 15 times last season. She topped the 20-point plateau five times.
? Iowa is 121-17 when leading at the half in eight years under Coach Bluder. The Hawkeyes are 101-22 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 46-4 mark when opponents score 59 points or less.
? Iowa is slated to play six non-conference games against teams from a major conference: Big East (South Florida), Pac-10 (California), ACC (Duke), Big XII (Kansas, Texas Tech and Iowa State).

Iowa Hawkeye fans will be treated once again to behind-the-scenes information this season as senior Wendy Ausdemore, and sophomore Kelsey Cermak and freshman Hannah Draxten will have their own blogs, which will be posted on hawkeyesports.com. The trio will share their thoughts on practices, games, road trips, and everything else surrounding the program. Additionally, fans will be able to watch behind-the-scenes clips of the team with Lindsey Nyenhuis’ video blog.

The Big Ten Conference announced its latest public service effort for women’s basketball. The Get to Know Her campaign is a fully integrated effort that will allow fans to see the non-basketball sides of their favorite student-athletes via multimedia tools and on-campus promotions. Elements of the Get to Know Her campaign include a fan club, theme nights, a weekly newsletter, Big Ten Network-produced PSAs, video and print feature stories, a Facebook page and fan rewards. Fans can sign up to be members of the Get to Know Her Club at all Big Ten women’s basketball home games. Fans will receive special rewards for joining the club, while membership privileges include special access, giveaways and insider information on Big Ten women’s basketball. Fans will also enjoy increased chances to learn about their favorite women’s basketball players through multimedia outlets. Written feature stories will appear on the Big Ten website throughout the conference season, while the Big Ten Network will air features and Get to Know Her PSAs through the duration of the 2008-09 campaign.

The University of Iowa and Carver-Hawkeye Arena will serve as one of 16 first and second round hosts for the 2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. Games will take place Sunday, March 22 (6 p.m./8:30 p.m.) and Tuesday, March 24, 2009 (8:30 p.m.). Adult tickets prices are $28 for the three tournament games and $18 for students and senior citizens if they purchase their tickets over the phone or at the UI Ticket Office. The two ticket prices are $31 and $21, respectively, if purchased on the Internet. The UI Department of Athletics first hosted an NCAA Championship site in 1986 when it served as one of four regional final sites. Carver-Hawkeye Arena has hosted NCAA Women’s Championship games 11 years (1986-90, 92-94, 96-98). The UI and Carver-Hawkeye Arena have entertained the regional finals four times and first and/or second rounds nine times. The NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1994. The last time Iowa City hosted a first and second round site was in 1998. Iowa defeated Massachusetts in the first round, but lost to Kansas in the second round. The Hawkeyes boast a 9-4 record in NCAA Championship games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa will have only one day to prepare for Tuesday’s game at Kansas. Tip-off is slated for 11:05 a.m. in Lawrence, KS. The contest will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPN (HD).