Hawkeyes Travel to Illinois Thursday

Jan. 13, 2009

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The Iowa Hawkeyes (9-7, 2-3) travel to Champaign, IL, Thursday to face the Illinois Fighting Illini (4-13, 0-6). Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. in Assembly Hall.

Hawkeye fans can watch Thursday night’s game for free online at bigtennetwork.com.

Brent Balbinot and former Hawkeye Abby Emmert will call Thursday night’s game for the Hawkeye Radio Network. Hawkeye fans can listen to the game on WMT AM-600 in Cedar Rapids, KXIC AM-800 in Iowa City and WHO AM-1040 in Des Moines. Balbinot is in his fifth season as Iowa’s play-by-play voice, while Emmert will call her second game of the season in relief of Shelley Till. 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 985 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 597-388 (.606). That includes a 297-149 (.666) mark in Big Ten contests and 278-82 (.772) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Iowa’s women’s basketball program has 597 overall wins and 297 victories in Big Ten Conference play.

Thursday will be the 59th meeting between Iowa and Illinois, with the Hawkeyes boasting a 42-16 advantage. The 42 victories are the most the Hawkeyes have against any other team. Iowa has won 39 of the last 46 meetings, including seven of the last eight. Iowa owns a 17-10 advantage in games played at Champaign, including winning the last four. The Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini only played once last season, with Iowa coming out victorious (60-58) at Assembly Hall on Jan. 21, 2008.

Illinois second-year Head Coach Jolette Law is a 1990 graduate of the University of Iowa. Law, who was a 1990 all-American, played four years (1986-90) for former Iowa and Hall of Fame Coach C. Vivian Stringer. Law currently ranks 17th in Iowa career scoring (1,137), sixth in steals (205) and seventh in assists (353). The Hawkeyes won or shared four Big Ten championships, reached the Elite Eight twice and helped Iowa win 46-straight home games during her career.

Thursday concludes a stretch of playing four of five games at home for Illinois. After starting the season 3-0, Illinois has fell on hard times losing 13 of the next 14 games, including seven straight after last night’s loss to Ohio State. Illinois has had difficulty scoring. The fighting Illini have scored 48 points or fewer in five of the last six games, including their last four contests. Ohio State posted a convincing 67-35 triumph over Illinois Monday night in Champaign. The Buckeyes outscored the Fighting Illini 40-15 in the second half. Illinois yielded 14 fastbreak points and 28 paint points. Jenna Smith and Lacey Simpson paced the Buckeyes, scoring 14 and 12 points, respectively. Simpson also collected a game-high six steals. The Fighting Illini have a solid front court, paced by Smith and Simpson. Smith averages a team-best 17.5 points and 2.0 blocks. Smith ranks second in rebounds (7.5). Simpson averages a team-best 8.2 rebounds and 3.3 steals. She also ranks second in scoring (11.2). Illinois has made only 52 triples this season, shooting only 24.8 percent from behind the 3-point arc. The Fighting Illini were 0-8 from long distance vs. Ohio State. Jolette Law is in her second season as a head coach, both years at Illinois. Her record is 24-28 (.462) on the Fighting Illini sidelines. Last season, Law guided Illinois to the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament.

? Ten of Iowa’s 16 games have been decided by 17 points or more (6-4).
? Iowa boasts a perfect 8-0 record when allowing 59 points or less and are 9-1 when shooting a higher field goal percentage than its opponents this season.
? Eight Big Ten teams already have at least two losses. Furthermore, six squads already have three defeats or more.
? Kristi Smith collected her 350th career assist at Indiana. She dished out four assists vs. Minnesota to surpass Nadine Domond for sixth on Iowa’s all-time assists chart. The senior is 10 from passing Steph Schuler and cracking the top five. Smith passed Illinois Head Coach and former Hawkeye Jolette Law on the career assists chart last week.
? Iowa players have corralled double-digit rebounds 13 times this season. JoAnn Hamlin has accomplished the feat a team-best six times, while Kachine Alexander has reached double-digit rebounds five times and Wendy Ausdemore has done it twice.
? Iowa has held eight of the nine teams it has defeated to 58 points or less.
? JoAnn Hamlin and Kachine Alexander lead the team in rebounding, averaging 7.6 and 7.3, respectively. Hamlin ranks eighth in league rebounding, while Alexander ranks 11th.
? Iowa has had six different players lead the team in scoring through 16 games. Megan Skouby has shared or led the squad in scoring a team-best six times.
? Last season, Megan Skouby blocked 23 shots in 32 games; she already has amassed 32 through 16 games this season. She currently sits third on Iowa’s career rejections list with 139. She is only seven blocks from surpassing Toni Foster for second. Skouby has blocked at least one shot in seven-consecutive games.
? Kristi Smith has reached double figures a team-best 11 times.
? Iowa has an RPI rating of 27th in the country and strength of schedule that ranks third. The Hawkeyes’ strength of schedule is tops in the Big Ten. Illinois is rated 105th in the RPI and fourth in strength of schedule. The numbers are based on the report published Jan. 13.

Senior Megan Skouby leads the conference and ranks 22nd nationally in free throw accuracy, shooting .875 (63-72). Wendy Ausdemore has missed only three free throw attempts this season (27-30, .900). As a team, Iowa shoots .788 (246-312) from the charity stripe, ranking sixth in the nation. The Hawkeyes have made (246) nearly as many free throws as their opponents have attempted (250).

The Iowa Hawkeyes led start-to-finish in a 74-57 victory over Minnesota Sunday afternoon in Iowa City. The win was Iowa’s third-straight over Minnesota and also snapped a three-game losing skid this season. JoAnn Hamlin and Kristi Smith combined for 41 points, shooting 15-19 (.789) from the field and 6-8 (.750) from the foul line. Hamlin posted her fourth double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds. Hamlin was 8-9 from the floor and 5-6 from the charity stripe. Smith scored 20 points, bolstered by 7-10 shooting from the field, including a career-best 5-7 from 3-point range. Kachine Alexander contributed 10 points and a game and career-high eight assists, while Wendy Ausdemore dished out a career-high six helpers. Iowa shot 51.9 percent (27-52) from the field for the game, including a blistering 65.2 percent (15-23) in the second stanza. Iowa held two of Minnesota’s top scoring threats to a combined seven points. Emily Fox was limited to just four points on 2-11 shooting, while Katie Ohm netted only three points on 1-4 shooting.

Wendy Ausdemore has made more 3-pointers than two-point field goals this season. Ausdemore, who ranked third in the country in 3-point percentage a year ago, has made 29 triples and 25 two-pointers through 16 games. Last season, Ausdemore made 78 treys and 54 two-pointers in 32 contests.

Iowa has maintained a solid home court advantage the last couple years. Dating back to last season, Iowa has won 13 of its last 14 games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Purdue snapped Iowa’s 12-game winning streak with a 69-60 win Dec. 28 in Iowa City.

Last season, Iowa had only three players record one double-double in 32 games (Wendy Ausdemore, Johanna Solverson and Megan Skouby). So far this season, Iowa has had three players post double-doubles a total of seven times through 16 games. JoAnn Hamlin has posted four double-doubles (Boston, Iowa State, Minnesota and Wisconsin) this year. The last Iowa player to record four or more double-doubles in a season was Jennie Lillis in 2002-03. Lillis had nine double-doubles that season. Kachine Alexander tallied her first double-double vs. Providence, while Ausdemore had back-to-back double-doubles vs. Texas Tech and South Florida in the Paradise Jam.

Iowa has three seniors who have reached the 1,000-point plateau. Wendy Ausdemore, Megan Skouby and Kristi Smith became the first senior trio at Iowa to eclipse 1,000 points. The 1998 senior duo of Tangela Smith and Tiffany Gooden reached the milestone, the 1990 tandem of Franthea Price and Jolette Law accomplished the feat, and the 1987 duo of Lisa Becker and Lisa Long both tallied 1,000 points. Skouby and Smith accomplished the feat last season as juniors, while Ausdemore topped 1,000 points early this season. Ausdemore netted a game-high 21 points in an overtime loss to South Florida (Nov. 28, 2008). The native of Neola, IA, reached 1,000 points in 97 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.

Wendy Ausdemore, a senior, has her name all over the Hawkeye record books for 3-point shooting. The native of Neola, IA, is 189-458 (.413) from long distance. Ausdemore’s 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 189 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.

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 is 130-17 when leading at the half in nine years under Coach Bluder, including a perfect 9-0 this season. The Hawkeyes are 110-24 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 54-4 mark when opponents score 59 points or less.
? Iowa played seven non-conference games against teams from a major conference: Big East (Providence and South Florida), Pac-10 (California), ACC (Duke), Big 12 (Kansas, Texas Tech and Iowa State).
? Megan Skouby tied a Paradise Jam tournament game record with four blocked shots against Texas Tech (11/27/08). Additionally, she blocked a career-high six shots at Purdue (1/8/09).
? Iowa boasted a +21.3 scoring margin in its three wins over in-state competition. The Hawkeyes dropped Iowa State by 20, Northern Iowa by 26 and Drake by 18.
? Iowa’s loss to South Florida was its first overtime loss since falling 80-78 to Minnesota (Jan. 25, 2007) in Iowa City.
? Through 16 games, Iowa averages only 4.7 steals per game, which is the lowest average in school history. The Hawkeyes averaged 5.1 thefts during the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons.

Iowa averages 13.7 more points at home than on the road. The Black and Gold have a higher free throw percentage at home (.813) than on the road (.759). Iowa averages 3.2 more rebounds per game, 3.9 more assists and 3.4 fewer turnovers at home than on the road.

There are big differences in the statistics in Iowa’s wins to Iowa’s losses. The Hawkeyes average 16.5 more points in their wins to losses. Also, Iowa averages 5.2 fewer turnovers in its victories. Finally, Iowa averages .380 from behind the 3-point arc in its wins, compared to only .291 in its defeats.

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.

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.

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).

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 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.

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 hawkeyesports.com and then clicking on the `GT’ link.

Make sure you have the best seats to cheer on the Hawkeyes at the 2009 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis at Conseco Fieldhouse March 5-8. Secure the best seats available by contacting the UI Athletic Ticket Office at (800) IA-HAWKS. All-session tickets are on sale for $65. The Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments will call Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse home through 2012. Indianapolis has staged 13 of the 14 previous women’s tournaments. The 2009 tournament features all 11 Big Ten teams in action, competing in 10 games over four days to crown the 2009 champion and earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Six different conference representatives have won the tournament championship. Reigning Big Ten Tournament Champion Purdue leads all teams with seven titles, followed by two championships for both Iowa and Penn State and one title each for Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State. The 2009 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament bracket, along with information on tickets, travel, lodging, tournament history and more, can be found at bigten.org and indianasportscorp.com.

“HAWK TALK WITH Lisa Bluder”
Catch “Hawk Talk with Lisa Bluder”, the radio call-in program Monday night featuring Iowa Hawkeye Women’s Head Coach Lisa Bluder, on KXIC-AM 800 in Iowa City, WHO-AM 1040 in Des Moines and WMT-AM 600 in Cedar Rapids from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Fans can call toll-free at (800) 332-5401 or locally at (319) 365-0600. The show originates from Bob’s Your Uncle restaurant on the east side of Iowa City.

Iowa returns home to host Northwestern Sunday. Tip-off is slated for 2:05 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.