Jan. 26, 2009
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Powered by 21-point performances from seniors Wendy Ausdemore and Kristi Smith, the University of Iowa women’s basketball team won for the fourth consecutive time, 77-69, against Michigan on Monday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes (12-7 overall, 5-3 Big Ten Conference) took the lead for good (63-60) on Ausdemore’s fifth three-pointer of the game with 5 minutes, 50 seconds remaining. It was the fifth straight loss for Michigan (9-11, 2-7)
An ankle injury sidelined Hawkeye forward JoAnn Hamlin, forcing UI head coach Lisa Bluder to start a three-guard lineup. It was far from a changing of the guard for the Hawkeyes, but freshman Kamille Wahlin responded well to her first collegiate start, posting a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists.
“That’s a pretty nice first start for Kamille, a double-double,” Bluder said. “That was a tremendous job. I thought another freshman — Hannah Draxten — hitting those two free throws was very, very important.”
Draxten was fouled by Michigan’s Carmen Reynolds with 2:08 to play and sank both charity tosses to give Iowa a 71-67 edge. The old guard of Ausdemore and Smith was instrumental in ruling beyond the three-point line with the pair combining to make 10 of 21 three-pointers. Ausdemore was 5 of 10 and Smith was 5 of 11.
“It was a good win for us because we haven’t won a close game this year,” Bluder said. “We’ve won by huge margins, we’ve lost in overtime, but this is the first time we’ve really been in a game like this where it’s been like a chess match back and forth all the time.”
The Hawkeyes defeated Texas Tech by eight points on Nov. 27 and downed Illinois by 10 on Jan. 15.
Iowa had four players score in double figures — Ausdemore, Smith, Wahlin and Kachine Alexander, who poured in 10 points with a game-high 14 rebounds. Twenty-one of the 28 Hawkeye field goals were assisted with Smith adding five and Alexander handing out four.
Iowa shot 48.3 percent from the field for the game (28 of 58), including 12 of 28 for three-point range. Michigan, a team known for its long-range shooting, attempted 27 treys.
“It was a good win for us because we haven’t won a close game this year. We’ve won by huge margins, we’ve lost in overtime, but this is the first time we’ve really been in a game like this where it’s been like a chess match back and forth all the time.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder
Wahlin made 6 of 9 field goals with four rebounds in 35 minutes.
“I have butterflies before every game,” Wahlin said. “I just wanted to make sure I relaxed and got comfortable and my teammates and coaches helped me transition smoothly. They made me feel comfortable starting, so that helped a lot.”
Draxten and freshman Kelly Krei were the only Hawkeyes to come off the bench and they played a combined 16 minutes.
“We took it as a challenge,” Smith said of playing without Hamlin. “Good teams respond positively to adversity and being seniors, we knew we had to step up and some of the underclassmen stepped up as well.”
For the second consecutive game, the Hawkeyes controlled the glass, out-rebounding the Wolverines, 37-31.
Iowa grabbed a 36-34 lead at intermission, thanks to a 15-point scoring performance from Smith. She was 5 of 9 from the field (3 of 7 from three-point range) and 2 of 2 from the line with two assists. Wahlin handed out half of the Hawkeye’s 10 assists. Alexander and Megan Skouby had six and five rebounds.
Iowa has matched a season-high four-game winning streak. Monday was billed as Buck Night and Bluder said her team fed off the energy of the Hawkeye fans.
“I want to thank all the fans for coming out on a Monday night,” she said. “Their support really helped us in those last six minutes when we had to play great defense. The enthusiasm of the environment really helped us buckle down.”
Iowa returns to action Thursday, Jan. 29, against Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. The availability of Hamlin is unknown for the game against the Spartans. On Thursday, Jan. 22, Hamlin came down on a teammates’ foot in practice and she rolled an ankle.
“I’m probably being optimistic by saying we’ll have her back by Thursday,” Bluder said. “But that’s the goal. We really won’t know until that day.”
In 18 starts this season, Hamlin has averaged 9.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
The Hawkeyes split two games with Michigan State last season, losing 73-65 on the road and winning 82-64 at home. Iowa has not won in East Lansing since Feb. 1, 2004 (78-67).