Iowa Travels to the Caribbean for Paradise Jam

Nov. 24, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format

The Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1) will make their first-ever appearance in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands this week. The Black and Gold will face three teams from major conferences: Texas Tech on Thursday (5:05 p.m.), South Florida Friday (5:05 p.m.) and California Saturday (7:35 p.m.). All games will be played at the Sports and Fitness Center.

Below is the schedule of events for the 2008 Paradise Jam. All times are central.

Thursday, Nov. 27
Texas Tech vs. Iowa, 5:05 p.m.
South Florida vs. California, 7:35 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 28
Iowa vs. South Florida, 5:05 p.m.
California vs. Texas Tech, 7:35 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 29
South Florida vs. Texas Tech, 5:05 p.m.
California vs. Iowa, 7:35 p.m.

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call each Iowa game at the Paradise Jam for the Hawkeye Radio Network. Hawkeye fans can listen to the contest on WMT in Cedar Rapids and WHO in Des Moines. 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 or on the women’s basketball schedule page.

Hawkeye fans can watch every Iowa game at the tournament online at There is a small fee for each day of the tournament. Information can be found on the website.

Iowa has played 973 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 591-382 (.607). That includes a 295-146 (.669) mark in Big Ten contests and 275-81 (.772) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa has never faced Texas Tech or South Florida. Saturday will be only the second meeting between Iowa and California. The Bears beat the Hawkeyes, 89-66, at the Sun Devil Classic in Tempe, AZ on Dec. 9, 1982.

Texas Tech has started the season 4-0, notching victories over Idaho, Washington State, Lamar and UT-Arlington, all at home. The Red Raiders are picked to finish 10th in the pre-season Big 12 rankings. Four players average in double figures: Dominic Seals (15.5), Jordan Murphree (13.0), Jordan Barncastle (12.0) and Tilmila Martin (10.5). Barncastle also averages 10.0 rebounds. The Red Raiders average 75.8 points and 41.2 rebounds per contest, while holding opponents to 57.8 points and 36.0 rebounds. Texas Tech is coached by former Purdue Head Coach Kristy Curry. Curry is in her 10th season as a head coach, her third with Texas Tech. Curry’s overall record is 215-83 (.721), while she is 36-32 (.529) on the Red Raider sidelines.

Like Texas Tech, South Florida (USF) enters this week’s tournament with an unblemished 4-0 record. The Bulls collected wins over Central Connecticut, Loyola, Stetson and Coppin State, all at home. Shantia Grace averages a team-best 20.3 points. Jazmin Sepulveda ranks second in team scoring (15.3), while Janae Stokes ranks third (13.0). Five players average 5.5 rebounds or more, led by Brittany Denson (7.0). As a team, USF boasts a +15.0 rebounding margin and a +52.2 scoring margin. The Bulls have already reached the century mark twice this season (Stetson — 103 and Central Connecticut — 100). USF averages 98.5 points per contest. USF will be the second team from the Big East Conference Iowa will play this season (64-46 win over Providence). The Bulls are coached by Jose Fernandez, who is in his ninth year as a head coach, all at USF. He owns a 120-123 (.494) record.

California was ranked sixth in last week’s ESPN/Coaches poll, with the new poll being released Tuesday. The Bears are 3-0 and most recently toppled second-ranked Rutgers (66-52) at home. Ashley Walker averages a double-double (22.0 points and 11.7 rebounds). Alexis Gray-Lawson averages 14.7 points and 6.0 rebounds, while Lauren Greif averages 8.3 points and 7.0 rebounds. Last year’s Pac-10 Player of the Year, Devanei Hampton, has not seen action yet as she is still recovering from a knee injury. Her status for this week’s tournament is uncertain. Hampton and Walker are two of 30 women’s basketball players named to the Wooden Award Watch List. California is coached by Joanne Boyle, who is in her seventh season as a head coach (138-57, .708) and her fourth with the Bears (81-28, .743).

Iowa picked up wins over Boston University (83-58) and Providence (64-46) last weekend to claim its 18th Hawkeye Challenge title. Megan Skouby was named tournament MVP, while senior teammates Wendy Ausdemore and Kristi Smith were recognized on the all-tournament team. Skouby netted a game-high 21 points vs. Boston, and scored another 13 points against Providence. Ausdemore averaged 11 points and 5.5 rebounds, while Smith averaged 12.0 points and 4.0 assists. For the tournament, Iowa shot 42-51 (.824) from the charity stripe. The Hawkeyes also outrebounded both opponents and had a better shooting percentage.

? California will be traveling through four time zones to get to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
? Iowa will play on Thanksgiving Day for the second-straight year. The Hawkeyes beat Mississippi State last November in Cancun.
? The last time Iowa played three games in three days was at the 2001 Big Ten Tournament. Iowa defeated Purdue, a team that was coached by Kristi Curry at the time, to win the championship.
? Iowa starts the season with seven games in 14 days.
? Sophomore reserve Kelsey Cermak and junior Nicole VanderPol are doubtful for the Paradise Jam due to injury.

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.

Megan Skouby shot 27-45 (.600) from the field and 30-34 (.882) from the free throw line the first four games of the season. She has attempted nearly 16 more field goals than the next Hawkeye (Hamlin – 29) and has attempted 25 more free throws than the next Iowa player (Alexander – 19).

Megan Skouby scored 16 of Iowa’s 27 first-half points on 6-8 shooting from the field and 4-4 from the foul line, at Kansas. Additionally, the senior scored Iowa’s first nine points in the second half. She finished with a game and career-high 33 points (10-17 FG, 13-14 FT). Her previous career high was 27 points vs. Michigan State her freshman year (Jan. 9, 2006). The last time an Iowa player scored over 30 points was Johanna Solverson (31 points at Wisconsin on March 2, 2008). She also posted career highs in free throws made (13) and attempted (14) against the Jayhawks. Her previous free throw bests were 11 made and 13 attempted vs. Indiana State (Nov. 15, 2006). The native of Mentor, OH, tallied 17 points against the Jayhawks her sophomore season in a game played in Kansas City. Skouby also collected seven boards and rejected a game-high three shots, playing 39 of the 40 minutes.

Iowa made only 64 percent (16-25) of its free throws in its season opener vs. Texas State. Since the opener, the Black and Gold have made 82.7 percent (62-75) their last three contest.

Kachine Alexander grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds vs. Providence on Sunday. It marked the second time this season and third time in her career she pulled down double-digit rebounds in a game. The sophomore is Iowa’s leading rebounder (7.0 rpg) after four contests; the guard stands five-foot-nine. Alexander shared team-high rebounding honors in Iowa’s opener vs. Texas State, collecting six and was the leading rebounder at Kansas (10) and vs. Providence (11). The Hawkeyes need to replace 15 rebounds per game they lost due to graduation. Jenee Graham, Johanna Solverson and Krista VandeVenter led the Hawkeyes averaging five rebounds per game a year ago.

Senior Wendy Ausdemore has scored 979 career points, just 21 shy of 1,000. Teammates Megan Skouby and Kristi Smith accomplished the feat last season as juniors.

Iowa’s women’s basketball program has 591 overall wins and 296 Big Ten Conference victories. Additionally, Coach Bluder, who won her 500th a year ago, has 151 Iowa victories.

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 Plus, Iowa’s three games at the Paradise Jam (Nov. 27-29) will be streamed on 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.

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 USA Today/Coaches poll this week (No. 5 Duke, No. 6 California, No. 18 Ohio State and No. 24 Iowa State).

Wendy Ausdemore enters her senior season with her name all over the Hawkeye record books for 3-point shooting. The native of Neola, IA, is 165-394 (.419) from long distance. 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 165 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’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).

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 124-17 when leading at the half in nine years under Coach Bluder. The Hawkeyes are 104-22 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 49-4 mark when opponents score 59 points or less.
? Iowa is slated to play seven non-conference games against teams from a major conference: Big East (Providence and South Florida), Pac-10 (California), ACC (Duke), Big XII (Kansas, Texas Tech and Iowa State).

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 leads the fifth annual Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series, 7-4, after five events. The Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes 3-0 in volleyball (Sept. 12) to earn two points and finished ahead of Iowa at the men’s cross country regional meet. Iowa beat Iowa State 17-5 in football to earn the only three-point event. The Hawkeyes also downed the Cyclones in women’s soccer, 3-2, and finished ahead of Iowa State at the women’s cross country regional meet. There are seven events remaining, with the next competition slated for Dec. 6 in wrestling (Iowa City).

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 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.

Statistics and play-by-play accounts of all Iowa Hawkeye 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 `GT’ link.

Iowa will remain on the road for its fourth-straight game away from Iowa City when it travels to Durham, NC, to face nationally-ranked Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 4. Tip-off is slated for 6:05 p.m. in Cameron Indoor Stadium.