Dec. 4, 2008
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DURHAM, N.C. – Home sweet home….the University of Iowa women’s basketball team can’t get there fast enough.
Bluder’s Bunch ventured into one of college basketball’s sacred halls Thursday night – Cameron Indoor Stadium on the campus of Duke University – and walked out 71-47 losers to the 12th ranked Blue Devils.
A 12-2 run in the last 4:30 of the first half broke the Hawkeyes back: Iowa pulled to within four at 16-12 when JoAnne Hamlin, playing the post for a sidelined Megan Skouby, dropped a jumper inside the paint.
The rest of the half – and the rest of the game – belonged to the home team. Iowa didn’t have a single player reach double-digits in scoring. All but one of the Hawkeyes who saw action was charged with a turnover and the team was charged with three. Iowa shot just 30 percent from the field.
The game was very physical from the start and it took its toll on the Hawkeyes, both emotionally and physically.
“They were bigger, faster, stronger…just better athletes. It was very tough for us to handle their physical play. I thought the officials would try to control the game a little more, but it became clear that they weren’t and then you’re forced to adjust your game,” said UI Coach Lisa Bluder.
“It was also tough to lose Megan (Skouby),” Bluder said of her senior center who had to exit the game after two minutes of action for stitches near her right eye. “We were kind of holding our own and then all of sudden one of year team leaders is gone and you’re not the same team.”
Bluder wasn’t kidding herself after the game, however. The Hawkeyes had their hands full with or without Skouby on the floor. Iowa committed 28 turnovers to Duke’s eight and the home team took 18 more shots from the field.
Wendy Ausdemore and Kristi Smith shot a combined 4-of-23 from the field and made just one of 10 attempts from behind the three point arc. Hannah Draxten paced Iowa with a career-high 9 points. All of her points came on three-point buckets.
“We had difficulty passing the ball and that contributed to the turnover problem. We’re also missing shots that we can hit. We have to stay the course because they’ll eventually start dropping for us,” Bluder said.
Iowa entertains Iowa State Sunday at 1 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“But, honestly, this game was probably a little over our head. We’re a young team – at times tonight we had three freshmen on the floor. This was a tough experience and I can only hope that it will be a tough but positive experience that will pay dividends in January, February and March.”
Duke center Chante Black led all scorers with 18 points. Joy Cheek added 13 points.
Iowa’s game against Duke was its second in a row against a Top 25 team. The Hawkeyes don’t get a break, however. Intrastate rival Iowa State – another Top 25 team – is next on the slate. This one, however, is in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday.
“It’ll be good to be at home and the next one might as well be against (Iowa) State,” Bluder said.