UI gets 12th Win on a Super Pink Sunday

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Feb. 7, 2010

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By David Meyer

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Coming off a narrow defeat at the hands of Big Ten Conference-leading Ohio State, the University of Iowa returned home to take on Michigan State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday. The loss to the Buckeyes broke the Hawkeyes three-game winning streak, but they got back on track against the Spartans, prevailing, 77-66, and breaking Michigan State’s own four-game winning streak.

Iowa moved to 12-11 overall (5-7 Big Ten) with the victory, and has won four of its last five games.

Iowa’s scoring was extremely balanced. All five starters managed to record double-digit points. Kachine Alexander led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 23 points.

Alexander recorded her 10th double-double of the season after adding 10 rebounds to her point total.

“Kash did a great job of getting to the free throw line and putting those free throws down,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder.

Alexander was 12 of 14 from the charity stripe, with all but one of those attempts coming in the second half.

Kamille Wahlin, Kelly Krei, Jaime Printy, and Morgan Johnson followed in the UI scoring column with 14, 14, 11 and 10, respectively.

“I love the fact that we are so hard to guard because we have so many offensive weapons on the floor,” Bluder said.

The contest was Iowa’s annual “WBCA Pink Zone” game, an effort to raise breast cancer awareness by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The Hawkeyes wore white uniforms with pink trim and lettering, along with pink shoe laces. The majority of supporters also sported pink attire. Iowa is now 5-0 when wearing pink uniforms.

Sophomore forward and Iowa City native Krei opened the scoring with a 3-pointer from the left wing on the Hawkeyes’ first possession. Michigan State answered with a bucket of their own, and the teams traded baskets and the lead frequently in a first half that included two ties and eight lead changes. Iowa led by one at the break, 30-29.

“I love the fact that we are so hard to guard because we have so many offensive weapons on the floor.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder

Both teams shot well from the field in the opening period. Iowa was 13 of 29 (45 percent), while Michigan State was 12 of 26 (46 percent). Although shorter than the Spartans on average, the Hawkeyes out-rebounded their opponents 18 to 12 in the first. Six offensive rebounds facilitated Iowa’s 10 second-chance points in the first stanza.

“They’re a team that obviously has a lot more height and brawn than we do,” Bluder said. “For us to out-rebound them is really an excellent effort by our players, offensively and defensively.”

Alexander broke double figures before heading to the locker room, amassing 10 points. Freshman center Johnson also chipped in eight points in the first, and was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field.

As the second half began, a steal and fast break lay-up by Michigan State’s Jasmine Thomas gave the Spartans a short-lived advantage, before Iowa scored 10 unanswered to go up, 40-31, only 2:34 into the period.

After shooting only 3 of 11 (27 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half, the Hawkeyes found their stroke in the second. Krei hit one triple and Printy made two as Iowa made their first five field goal attempts of the second half and built a comfortable lead.

The Hawkeyes were able to maintain the advantage, as it hovered around 10 points for most of the second half.

Iowa pulled down 36 rebounds to Michigan State’s 26 and scored 28 points in the paint compared to 18 for the Spartans.

Johnson played well despite the unfamiliar task of taking on a taller opponent. Michigan State’s imposing 6-foot-9 center Allyssa DeHaan made only 5 of 15 field goal attempts, while Johnson was 5 of 7.

“Going against her was extremely hard. I was trying to be stronger, play lower than her — things that people do to me normally, and are a hassle,” said Johnson.

While the game was mostly good for the Hawkeyes, floor general Wahlin suffered a concussion after a collision with 7:14 remaining in the game.

“She got stepped on, then fell on and we weren’t able to use her for the last eight to 10 minutes of the game,” Bluder said. “How big was Trisha Nesbitt to come up and play that many minutes in a tough situation? We’re very, very thankful that she came in and played well for us.”

Wahlin’s status for Thursday’s game at Indiana is unknown.

Printy scored all of her 11 points after halftime, as she caught fire from deep. She made 3 of 4 3-point attempts in the second period. Printy’s output moved her into sixth place all-time for Hawkeye freshman with 343 total points this season.

Iowa improved upon its first half field goal percentage in the second, shooting 12 of 22 (55 percent), as well netting 4 of 8 treys. The Hawkeyes also shot at an exceptional clip from the free throw line, making 20 of 23 attempts (87 percent).

Iowa pulled down 36 rebounds to Michigan State’s 26 and scored 28 points in the paint compared to 18 for the Spartans.

“Who would’ve believed that coming into the game?” asked Bluder.

Bluder is impressed with her squad’s recent performances and hopes they are able to finish the regular season strong heading into Big Ten Tournament play.

“Right now I like the direction that we’re headed,” said Bluder.