Iowa cashes in on Cyclone turnovers for 20-point win


Dec. 7, 2008

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by Richie Zawistowski

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The temperature may have been frigid outside, but the University of Iowa was nothing short of scorching inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena during a 66-46 dismantling of No. 22 Iowa State on Sunday afternoon.

Iowa (5-4 overall) displayed dominant defense and held the Cyclones (5-2) to 46 points on 35.8-percent shooting from the field (19 of 53), while forcing 21 turnovers. Iowa was able to capitalize on Iowa State’s mistakes by netting 25 points off the Cyclone miscues, while only turning the ball over 12 times.

“I’m very excited about this win,” said UI coach Lisa Bluder. “I thought we played defense very well tonight. I think this was a huge test of character coming off three losses, and then coming into this game with not a whole lot of time to prepare for it.”

The first half started with both teams playing stout defense and Iowa State grabbing an early 3-0 lead. Iowa uncharacteristically gave up three straight offensive rebounds early on, yet the Cyclones came away with no points as Iowa demonstrated its lockdown defense.

Kristi Smith got things going for the Hawkeyes as she hit a tough shot in the corner and was fouled. She converted the free throw to complete the and-one to tie the game, 3-3. Smith scored 15 points going 6 of 12 from the floor. JoAnn Hamlin was able to assert her low post dominance in the first half scoring 12 points, shaking off Cyclone defenders and knocking down contested shots. Hamlin had a double-double finishing with a season-high 18 points and 10 rebounds.

With Iowa clinging on to a 19-18 lead, UI sophomore Kachine Alexander drove the ball strong and converted on a tough layup to give the Hawkeyes a 21-18 lead. This seemed to spark Iowa as it went on a 10-0 run as Alexander scored six of the ten points. Alexander scored a career-high 18 points in the win.

“Coach always tells me I can take anyone off the dribble,” said Alexander. “I really believe that, and I take it upon myself to attack, and once they start to converge on me that opens up four players. If you’re going to stop me, someone else is going to be open.”

Alexander showed that its not the size of the dog in the fight, rather the size of the fight in the dog. The guard was all over the offensive glass for the Hawkeyes, constantly giving them second possessions, with a game-high four offensive rebounds. With Iowa leading 25-18, she took a shot from the corner and the ball rimmed out. Not giving up, she fought through defenders to grab her own rebound and put the ball in for two underneath to give Iowa a 27-18 lead. On the Cyclones’ next possession Alexander was able to draw a charge to turn the ball back to the Hawkeyes and ignite the crowd.

“I’m very excited about this win. I thought we played defense very well tonight. I think this was a huge test of character coming off three losses, and then coming into this game with not a whole lot of time to prepare for it.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder

Kamille Wahlin came off the bench to score eight for the Hawkeyes, including a nice three-pointer from the top of the key to give Iowa a 10-point lead with 3:40 left in the half. Not to be out-done by the freshman, Smith continued her stellar play and had a shot sail through the net after a beautiful crossover dribble freed her up from outside. This put the Hawkeyes up 38-27 going into the locker room at the end of the first half.

The second half opened with what was a sign of things to come. The Cyclones fired up a shot from the corner only to watch it hit nothing but air. Iowa was able to capitalize on the other end with two free throws by Hamlin. In a play that looked eerily similar to the first half, Alexander missed a shot in the corner, but there she was again, fighting for the offensive rebound, and putting the ball back up for two.

The Hawkeyes continued their aggressiveness, as Smith took the ball hard to the basket and was fouled. She converted both free throws, as the Hawkeyes shot 83.3-percent from the line, making 20 of 24 attempts. Seniors Wendy Ausdmore and Megan Skouby had an unusually quiet game. Ausdemore scored her only two points slashing through the lane as Alexander threaded the needle and found her for the assist to put Iowa up 50-35 with a little under five minutes gone by in the second half.

The Cyclones could get no closer than 15 points as the Hawkeyes closed out the victory, which is their first win against Iowa State in their last four meetings.

Iowa will host Northern Iowa next Thursday, Dec. 11, with another tough task against an in-state school. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.