Hawkeyes Travel to Michigan State Thursday

Jan. 28, 2009

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The Iowa Hawkeyes (12-7, 5-3) and Michigan State Spartans (14-6, 7-2) clash Thursday night in East Lansing, MI. Tip-off is slated for 6:05 p.m. (CST) at the Breslin Center. It will be the only regular season meeting between the two teams. Michigan State has won five-consecutive games, while Iowa has won four-straight.

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

Brent Balbinot and Shelley Till will call Thursday night’s game for the Hawkeye Radio Network. Hawkeye fans can listen to the game on KXIC AM-800 in Iowa City. Balbinot is in his fifth season as Iowa’s play-by-play voice, while Till is in her fourth providing analysis. 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 won its 600th game in its 35 years as a varsity sport last Sunday vs. Northwestern. Also, the Hawkeyes garnered their 300th conference victory with the win over the Wildcats.

Iowa has played 989 games since beginning basketball in 1974. Overall, Iowa’s record is 601-388 (.608). That includes a 301-149 (.669) mark in Big Ten contests and 280-82 (.773) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

JoAnn Hamlin suffered a sprained left ankle during practice last Thursday and missed Iowa’s game vs. Michigan Monday night. She is questionable for Thursday night’s road game.

After starting conference play 2-2, Michigan State has won five-straight games. The Spartans won their last contest, 59-50, over Wisconsin Sunday afternoon in front of a season-high 10,489 fans at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. Both teams’ statistics were identical on the box score, except Michigan State outscored Wisconsin 13-4 at the foul line, with the Spartans attempting 15 more free throws than the Badgers. The Spartans have two players average in double figures: Aisha Jefferson and Allyssa DeHaan. Jefferson averages a team-best 12.0 points and 5.2 rebounds. DeHaan ranks second in scoring (11.0) and first in rebounding (6.9) and blocks (3.2). Brittany Thomas averages a team-best 3.2 assists to go along with 5.7 points per contest. Michigan State ranks first in seven statistical categories: field goal percentage defense (.341), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.265), rebounding (43.5), offensive rebounds (15.2), defensive rebounds (28.35), rebounding margin (+9.6) and blocked shots (5.65). The Spartans boast an 8-1 home record this season, averaging 5,634 fans per game. Michigan State is coached by Suzy Merchant. Merchant is in her 14th season (238-138, .632) as a head coach and her second on the Spartan sidelines (37-20, .649).

Thursday will be the 53rd meeting between Iowa and Michigan State, with the Hawkeyes leading the series, 30-22. Michigan State has won eight of the last 10 in the series. Iowa snapped a five-game slide to the Spartans in last year’s meeting in Iowa City (82-64) on Feb. 7, 2008. Iowa holds a slim 13-11 advantage in games played at East Lansing, MI. Michigan State has won four-straight against Iowa in the Breslin Center. The Hawkeyes’ last victory at Michigan State came on Feb. 1, 2004 (78-67).

? Iowa has matched its season-high winning streak of four. The Hawkeyes will gun for a season-high five-straight Thursday night at Michigan State.
? Eleven of Iowa’s 19 games have been decided by 17 points or more (7-4).
? Iowa boasts a perfect 9-0 record when allowing 59 points or less, are 12-1 when shooting a higher field goal percentage than its opponents and 12-0 when leading at halftime this season.
? Kristi Smith and Megan Skouby have had solid outings in games against Michigan State during their careers. Smith has made 13-26 (.500) from 3-point range and averages 11.3 points in seven games vs. the Spartans. Skouby has made 28-36 (.778) from the free throw line and averages 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in seven contests against Michigan State.
? Megan Skouby cracked Iowa’s all-time scoring top ten list with her 21 points at Illinois (Jan. 15). The senior surpassed Necole Tunsil for 10th on Iowa’s career scoring chart. Skouby now has 1,308 points.
? Iowa is the only league school with three players ranked in the top 15 in Big Ten assists: Kachine Alexander (sixth), Kristi Smith (10th) and Wendy Ausdemore (15th).
? Kachine Alexander, who stands 5-9, leads the team and ranks ninth in Big Ten rebounding, pulling down 7.9 per contest.
? Kristi Smith moved up in three career statistical categories with her totals from Monday night’s game vs. Michigan. Smith surpassed Kristi Faulkner for 13th in Iowa career scoring (1,262). She moved past Leah Magner into third place in career 3-pointers (160). Lastly, she surpassed Jolette Law, Nadine Domond and Steph Schueler for fifth in career assists (371).
? Iowa players have corralled double-digit rebounds 16 times this season. Kachine Alexander has accomplished the feat a team-best eight times, JoAnn Hamlin six times and Wendy Ausdemore twice.
? Iowa has held nine of the 12 teams it has beat to 58 points or less.
? Last season, Megan Skouby blocked 23 shots in 32 games; she already has amassed 34 through 19 games this season. She currently sits third on Iowa’s career rejections list with 141. She is only five blocks from surpassing Toni Foster for second. Skouby has blocked at least one shot in eight of the last 10 contests.
? Kristi Smith has reached double figures a team-best 13 times.
? Iowa has an RPI rating of 37th in the country and strength of schedule that ranks 19th. The Hawkeyes’ strength of schedule ranks second in the Big Ten. Michigan State is rated 54th in the RPI and 69th in strength of schedule. The numbers are based on the report published Jan. 27.

Kachine Alexander was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week with Minnesota’s Ashley Ellis-Milan on Jan. 19. Alexander took home her first career weekly honor after helping Iowa to a pair of victories over Illinois and Northwestern. In Iowa’s win over Northwestern, she became the eighth NCAA Division I student-athlete to post a triple-double this season. The 5-9 guard totaled 10 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists against the Wildcats. The 12 assists are a personal best and match the school single-game and Carver-Hawkeye Arena record. The last time a Big Ten player recorded a triple-double during a conference game came on Feb. 8, 2007 when Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport tallied 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocks against Minnesota. The last triple-double involving points, rebounds and assists in league play was courtesy of Iowa’s Cara Consuegra (17 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) on Feb. 3, 2000. Alexander became only the second Iowa basketball player, male or female to post a triple-double (Cara Consuegra).

Kamille Wahlin shined in her first career start Monday night against Michigan. The freshman posted a double-double, the first of her career, recording personal bests in scoring (14 points) and assists (10 assists). The 10 assists are believed to be the most in a single-game by an Iowa freshman. Wahlin was moved into the starting lineup after JoAnn Hamlin injured an ankle in practice. Hamlin is questionable for Thursday night’s contest at Michigan State. In her last four games, Wahlin has made 13-20 (.650) from the field.

Iowa has maintained a solid home court advantage the last couple years. Dating back to last season, Iowa has won 15 of its last 16 games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Purdue snapped Iowa’s 12-game winning streak with a 69-60 win Dec. 28 in Iowa City.

? Iowa has averaged 9.5 triples.
? Boasts a 2.0 assist/turnover ratio (86 assists, 43 turnovers).
? Assisted on 78 percent of its field goals.
? Averaged 74.3 points and allowed only 58.5 (+15.8 margin).
? Shooting at a .502 clip from the field (110-219), including .475 from 3-point range (38-80).

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.

Kachine Alexander has been unselfish with the basketball the last four games, putting up huge numbers. The sophomore dished out eight assists vs. Minnesota (Jan. 11) and followed up that performance with nine at Illinois (Jan. 15). Against Northwestern (Jan. 18), Alexander collected a game and career-high 12 helpers. The 12 assists tied the school single-game and Carver-Hawkeye Arena record. She was credited with four vs. Michigan. The last four games, she has averaged 8.25 assists. Alexander’s 29 combined assists vs. Minnesota, Illinois and Northwestern are believed to be the most ever by a Hawkeye in a three-game span. Iowa is 6-0 this season when Alexander has five assists or more, and only 2-5 with two assists or fewer.

Kristi Smith has been on fire from behind the 3-point arc the last four games. Smith made 18-28 (.643) triples and averaged 17.3 points during Iowa’s active four-game winning streak. Furthermore, she missed only eight times from long distance in Iowa’s last three contests (13-21, .619).

Iowa drained a season-high 12 triples en route to a 77-69 triumph over the Michigan Wolverines Monday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Monday was Iowa’s fourth-straight victory. The game featured 10 ties and 20 lead changes. Both teams had four players score in double figures. Iowa was led by seniors Wendy Ausdemore and Kristi Smith, who combined for 42 of Iowa’s 77 points. Both netted season-high 21 points and both drained five 3-pointers. Freshman guard Kamille Wahlin started her first career game and posted a double-double (14 points, 10 assists). Sophomore Kachine Alexander also registered a double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds). The last time Iowa had two players post double-doubles in the same game was March 24, 2005 in a win over Arkansas State in the WNIT Quarterfinals. Jamie Cavey had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Krista VandeVenter had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Michigan was led by Krista Phillips and Veronica Hicks. Phillips was credited with a team-high 16 points and nine rebounds, while Hicks tallied 15 points. The win was Iowa’s third-straight over Michigan.

? JoAnn Hamlin missed Monday’s game with an injured ankle. Wendy Ausdemore moved from the three position, to the four and Wahlin started at the off guard.
? After posting a triple-double in Iowa’s previous game, Kachine Alexander followed up that performance with a double-double. Alexander had 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
? Wendy Ausdemore matched a season high with 21 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Additionally, she tied a season high with five triples.
? Kristi Smith played all 40 minutes, netting a season-high 21 points. Like Ausdemore, Smith drained five treys, marking the third time in four games she has sank five triples. Smith also equaled a season high with five assists.
? Iowa improved to 40-11 all-time against Michigan, including wins in 11 of the last 12. Iowa improved to 21-4 against Michigan in games played at Iowa City. ? Only seven Hawkeyes saw game action.
? The Hawkeyes drained a season-high 12 triples, while Michigan sank 10. Iowa was only two 3-pointers from tying the arena record of 14 set by Northern Iowa in 2006.
? Iowa outrebounded Michigan 37-31, despite not having its second-leading rebounder in the lineup (JoAnn Hamlin).
? With the game tied 55-55 in the second half, Iowa went on a scoring drought for 5:16. Kachine Alexander finally ended the drought by draining only her second 3-pointer of the season at the 7:07 mark. That triple sparked an 11-0 run by the Hawkeyes.

Senior Megan Skouby ranks second in the conference and ranks 20th nationally in free throw accuracy, shooting .864 (70-81). Wendy Ausdemore has missed only three free throw attempts this season (29-32, .906). As a team, Iowa shoots .787 (273-347) from the charity stripe, ranking fifth in the nation. The Hawkeyes have made (273) nearly as many free throws as their opponents have attempted (288).

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 36 triples and 30 two-pointers through 19 games. Last season, Ausdemore made 78 treys and 54 two-pointers in 32 contests.

Wendy Ausdemore, a senior, has her name all over the Hawkeye record books for 3-point shooting. The native of Neola, IA, is 196-475 (.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 196 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.

Last season, Iowa had only three players record a double-double in 32 games (Wendy Ausdemore, Johanna Solverson and Megan Skouby). So far this season, Iowa has had four different players post double-doubles a total of 10 times through 19 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 registered double-doubles vs. Providence and Michigan, and also added a triple-double vs. Northwestern. Ausdemore had back-to-back double-doubles vs. Texas Tech and South Florida in the Paradise Jam. Kamille Wahlin had her first double-double vs. Michigan.

? Iowa is 133-17 when leading at the half in nine years under Coach Bluder, including a perfect 12-0 mark this season. The Hawkeyes are 112-24 when holding opponents to 69 points or less, including a 55-4 mark when opponents score 59 points or less.
? Iowa’s 12 blocks at Drake (Dec. 20) tied the school single-game record previously set vs. UC Santa Barbara in 1995.
? 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 19 games, Iowa averages only 4.9 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 is 3-0 in bus trips this season (Drake, Wisconsin and Illinois). The Hawkeyes have one bus trip remaining on their schedule (at Northwestern on March 1).

Iowa averages 13.1 more points at home than on the road. The Black and Gold have a higher free throw percentage at home (.817) than on the road (.750). Iowa averages 3.3 more rebounds per game, 4.6 more assists and 3.3 fewer turnovers at home than on the road.

There are big differences, statistically in Iowa’s wins vs. losses. The Hawkeyes average 17.1 more points in victory. Also, Iowa averages 6.2 fewer turnovers in its victories. Finally, Iowa averages .415 from behind the 3-point arc in its wins, compared to only .291 in defeat. Individually, Kristi Smith averages 14.1 points, including making 28-56 (.500) from 3-point range, in victories. Also, Kachine Alexander averages 9.8 points, 5.1 assists and 8.5 rebounds in Hawkeyes wins. In losses, Smith averages only 8.6 points, while Alexander averages 5.9 points and 1.6 assists.

The Iowa Hawkeyes rank first in five statistical Big Ten games only categories: field goal percentage (.442), 3-pointers made (6.86), 3-point field goal percentage (.423), assists (16.25) and assist/turnover ratio (1.17). Iowa ranks second in free throw percentage (.766). Individually, Kachine Alexander ranks first in assist/turnover ratio (1.74) and second in assists (5.0). JoAnn Hamlin ranks first in field goal percentage (.563). Kristi Smith ranks first in 3-pointers made (3.13) and third in 3-point field goal percentage (.500). Megan Skouby is tied for fourth in free throw percentage (.846) and ranls sixth in blocked shots (1.88).

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.

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).

Former Drake athlete Jenni Fitzgerald received the Drake Double D Award in Des Moines, IA, on Jan. 17. The award is presented annually to Drake letterwinners for achievements in their chosen fields of endeavor and/or community service since leaving Drake. The Double D Award is the highest honor Drake bestows on its student-athletes. Since its inception in 1968, the Double D honor has been presented to 234 former Drake letterwinners. Fitzgerald was the starting point guard for the Drake women’s basketball team from 1986-91. She was named team MVP as a junior and was named captain as a senior while earning All-Gateway Conference honors. She was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs and only the second player in Drake history to start every game of her collegiate career. Fitzgerald graduated from Drake, ranking second on the school career steals list (250) third on the school career free throw percentage chart (.802) and third on the school career assist list (516). In February 2007, Jan Jensen, who also played women’s basketball at Drake, earned the Double D Award.

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.

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.

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.

The Hawkeyes return home to host Penn State Sunday, Feb. 1 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tip-off is slated for 1:05 p.m. Iowa will conclude its stretch of playing four of five home games next Thursday when it entertains Indiana to Iowa City.