Nov. 29, 2008
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ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team lost its second game in a row Saturday night at the Paradise Jam, falling 76-43 to No. 3 California in the second-ever meeting between the schools.
Iowa is now 4-3 overall, while California remains undefeated at 6-0.
Iowa forward Wendy Ausdemore was named to the all-tournament team. She made two triples tonight, marking the fifth consecutive contest the senior sank two or more treys. Ausdemore finished the game with a team-high 10 points and five rebounds.
“She’s a gutsy kid,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “She was playing as hard as she could on a sprained ankle. She was working as hard as she could.”
It marked Iowa’s first game against a team ranked as high as No. 3 in the national polls since playing No. 2 Ohio State on Feb. 13, 2005 (a 67-60 setback).
The Hawkeyes jumped to an 8-2 lead (17:14 in the first half), but California quickly countered with a 24-2 run to take a 25-10 advantage midway through the first half.
The Bears forced the Hawkeyes into a perimeter game, as half their first-half field goal attempts (30) were from beyond the three-point arc (15). Iowa was only 4 of 15 (.267) from long distance in the first 20 minutes.
“Cal’s defense was giving us the three-point shot,” Bluder said. “Typically we’re a good three-point shooting team, but their sagging man was working.”
The Hawkeyes made 6 of 25 thjree-point field goal attempts.
California’s Ashley Walker was tabbed the tournament’s MVP. She poured in a game-high 32 points against the Hawkeyes, 20 of which came in the first half.
“They’re an excellent team top to bottom,” UI associate head coach Jan Jensen said. “To compete with a team like that, you have to play a nearly flawless game. It’s easy to see why Walker is a two-time All-American.”
UI’s Megan Skouby and JoAnn Hamlin each scored eight points. Hamlin (4 of 8 from the field) also corralled a team-high seven rebounds with three assists. Freshman Kelly Krei continues to make the most of her rookie season. In 27 minutes, Krei scored five points with three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
California shot 50.8-percent (31-61) from the field for the game, while Iowa was held to a season-low 33.3-percent (17-51) from the floor. The Hawkeyes posted a season-low 16 turnovers, but California converted those miscues into 24 points.
“It was a tough game for us,” Bluder said. “We’re not clicking right now and California is a very good basketball team.”
Iowa made (three) and attempted (four) season-lows from the free throw line. California was 7 of 8 (.875) from the charity stripe.
Iowa’s 20 points in the first stanza are the fewest it has scored in a half this season (25 vs. Texas Tech). Walker scored 20 points herself in the first half to match Iowa as a team.
The Hawkeyes will leave their hotel early tomorrow morning and spend the entire day traveling back to Iowa City. Iowa returns to action Thursday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Hawkeyes travel to Durham, N.C., to face nationally ranked Duke at 6:05 p.m. (Iowa time).
“It’s going to be tough,” Bluder said. “Duke has a great basketball team and it will be a tough challenge coming off two losses in a row.”
“We should be well-prepared for the Big Ten season,” Jensen said. “We’re playing a lot of youth at times. We’re going to get a lot better. It’s our job as a coaching staff to find a way to build it.”