Feb. 21, 2010
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By David Meyer
EVANSTON, Ill. — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team seemed like it was clicking on all cylinders when the Hawkeyes traveled to Evanston, Ill., to take on Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena. However, the Hawkeyes unexpectedly saw their four-game winning streak come to an end as they fell, 72-66, to the Wildcats and dropped to 15-12 (8-8 Big Ten Conference). Northwestern is 16-11, 7-9.
Coming into the contest, Iowa had won seven of its last eight games, with its only loss coming at conference-leader Ohio State on Feb. 4.
“Give credit to Northwestern,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. ” I think they just really outplayed us today.”
In a fast, frantic and physical game, Iowa could not overcome Northwestern’s offensive firepower. Amy Jaeschke achieved a double-double with a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds. Beth Marshall added 15 points and a game-high seven assists.
“When she catches the ball two feet away from the basket, there’s just not a whole lot that you can do down there,” said Bluder of Jaeschke, “She got the ball too many times for high-percentage shots.”
Kamille Wahlin had a team-high 22 points and six assists for the Hawkeyes. Kachine Alexander recorded her 13th double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Alexander now has double-doubles in six of Iowa’s last seven games.
Iowa shot 26 of 60 (43 percent) from the field, 8 of 22 (36 percent) from 3-point range. Northwestern was 24 of 49 (49 percent) on field goal attempts and a blistering 9 of 15 (60 percent) from deep.
“I don’t feel like our players really had their feet prepared to shoot today,” Bluder said. “We had a hard time beating people off penetration to draw the help for a shot. Northwestern defended us very, very well.”
The Wildcats shot 20 free throws to 10 for the Hawkeyes, as well as a higher percentage from the line (75 to 60-percent) and out-rebounded Iowa, 34 to 30.
The Hawkeyes got off to a hot start as they have become accustomed to lately, making their first three field goal attempts and going up 6-2 after a Morgan Johnson layup.
However, Iowa soon lost their lead as Jaeschke went on a scoring tear. She scored 10 of her 12 first half points from the 15:20 mark until 10:13 remained as she hit shots from all around the floor.
The Hawkeyes trailed by as many as eight points in the opening period, behind 25-17 with 7:24 remaining before the break, but then they closed the gap to only two at the half.
Iowa went into the locker room down 30-28. The Hawkeyes had not trailed at halftime since the last time they faced the Wildcats on Jan. 24.
Wahlin led the way for Iowa in the first half, getting into double figures with 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting. Alexander had the same number of conversions and attempts and was well on her way to another double-double as she had an equal point and rebound total with nine. Kelly Krei contributed 13 points and four boards.
Jaime Printy leads all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (15.5 points per game), but was held to only eight points Sunday. She went scoreless in the first half as the Northwestern defense keyed on her. Despite the decreased scoring output, Printy’s three assists moved her into third place among Hawkeye freshmen in single-season assists with 83 total, passing Kristi Smith (82).
As a team, the Hawkeyes shot 12 of 27 (44 percent) from the field in the opening stanza, but an uncharacteristic 2 of 8 (25 percent) from 3-point range. The Wildcats, on the other hand, were 12 of 30 (40 percent) on field goals, while they made 5 of 9 (56 percent) from downtown.
In the second half, Iowa struck first as another Johnson layup evened the score at 30. But once again, Northwestern came back with a scoring surge. The Wildcats went on a 10-2 run, building another eight point advantage at 40-32 nearly six minutes into the half.
Iowa was able to claw its way back to within one point, 44-43, after Printy scored her first three points of the contest with a long ball at the 11:25 mark.
“We have two big games, two opportunity games left. I feel like if we can bounce back we can do well in both of those games.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder
However, keeping it close would prove difficult for the Hawkeyes as Northwestern could hardly miss in the second. The Wildcats shot a scorching 12 of 19 (6 -percent), including 4 of 6 (67 percent) from beyond the arc. Northwestern led by double-digits, 64-54, with 5:10 remaining in the game, and the prospects did not look good for Iowa.
Somehow, the Hawkeyes willed their way to a comeback. Krei closed the gap to four on her third triple of the afternoon, and a mere twenty seconds later Wahlin lowered the deficit to only two after a steal and fast break layup. At that point, Iowa trailed 66-64 with 2:01 left.
On the next possession, Jaeschke drew a foul on Johnson and made both free throw attempts. On the other end of the court, Alexander put in a layup for the Hawkeyes after two offensive rebounds. Iowa was back within two, 68-66 with 1:09 remaining.
After Kendall Hackney misfired from 3, the Hawkeyes had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead, but could not convert from down low on several attempts in the final 20 seconds.
Despite the valiant Iowa effort, the Wildcats were able to draw fouls and get to the free throw line down the stretch. Northwestern shot 14 of 18 (78 percent) from the charity stripe in the second half.
“We have two big games, two opportunity games left,” Bluder said. “I feel like if we can bounce back we can do well in both of those games.”
Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to take on Indiana in its final home game of the season on Thursday, Feb. 25.