Feb. 28, 2010
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MADISON, Wis. – Bluder’s Bunch needed a win on Sunday to improve its lot in a few lives. A victory over Wisconsin would finish Iowa’s regular season with a third place finish in the Big Ten Conference’s regular season. A win over the Badgers would also give the Hawkeyes a bye in next weekend’s 2010 Big Ten Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Hawkeyes overcame a sluggish second half during which the home team erased a 12-point deficit to send the game into overtime. Iowa then outscored the home team 12-4 to claim a 68-60 victory.
The win, Iowa 17th of the season and its 10th in Big Ten play, was sparked by who else? Kachine Alexander. The junior recorded her 14th double-double of the season, knocking down 19 points to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds. Four of Alexander’s points came from the charity stripe during the overtime. The last pushed Iowa’s margin to an insurmountable 67-60.
The Hawkeyes also got a game-high 20 points from Kamille Wahlin, who was good on four of her eight attempts from behind the arc – where Iowa was good on 11 of its 23 tries.
“I’m so proud of this team,” said an obviously delighted Lisa Bluder. “What they accomplished was really remarkable. Just amazing.”
Bluder was referencing Iowa’s victories in nine of its last 11 league games, a run that moved Iowa from the cellar to just a half-game behind the Big Ten’s second-place team, Michigan State.
“Today’s victory was very special because it came against a very, very good Wisconsin team in a very difficult environment,” Bluder added.
Iowa built its 12-point first half lead on the back of its defense. The Hawkeyes held the Badgers to just 36 percent success from the field and success on only two of 11 attempts from behind the arc. Iowa also grabbed seven offensive rebounds.
The Hawkeyes stretched the lead to 39-26 when Kelly Krei nailed a three-pointer with just under 17 to play. The Badgers responded in a slow and steady way, tying the game at 50-all and again at 60-60 to send the game into overtime.
Wahlin gave Iowa its first lead in the extra session when she hit a two-pointer to put the score at 60-58 with 2:04 left.
Iowa will play its first game in the 2010 Big Ten Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament Friday at approximately 1 p.m. Iowa time. The Hawkeyes will play the winner of Thursday’s game between Penn State, the sixth seed, and Minnesota, No. 11.