March 5, 2010
- ‘Kash’ Alexander: All-America Candidate
- 2010 Big Ten Tournament
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone app!
- Take the Hawkeyes With You: Iowa Podcasts
- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By Richie Zawistowski
INDIANAPOLIS — It was a tale of two halves for Iowa at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the women’s Big Ten Tournament. The first half saw Iowa struggle against Penn State’s pressure defense, and never get comfortable on offense, and as a result went into the half trailing.
However the second half saw the Hawkeyes lock down on defense, and create good looks for teammates and sure enough their shots started to fall. After scoring just 30 points in the first-half, Iowa exploded for 50 points in the second-half in the process of posting a 82-75 victory over Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.
“I thought our offense was much better in the second-half,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “I thought we ran out offense much cleaner, we were just out of synch in the first half. So I’m happy with that.”
Tyra Grant of Penn State scored 32 points, but it was not enough to overcome the balanced Hawkeyes which were led by five players in double figures, including a career-high 22 points from Kelly Krei. Freshman Jaime Printy also chipped in 22 points in her first tournament game, and Kachine Alexander was right behind with 17 points.
|Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Penn State Nittany Lions||1st||2nd||Final|
|Iowa Hawkeyes (18-12)||30||52||82|
|Penn State (17-13)||32||43||75|
|Points: Jaime Printy (Iowa), 22 | Tyra Grant (Penn State) 32|
|Rebounds: Jaime Printy (Iowa), Kamille Wahlin (Iowa) 6 | Tyra Grant (Penn State) 9|
|Assists: Jaime Printy (Iowa), Kamille Wahlin (Iowa), 5 | Emily Phillips (Penn State) 2|
Krei got Iowa on the board with a trey from the corner, giving Iowa a 3-2 lead just a minute into the game.
Alexander followed up Krei’s three with a tough layup that drew the foul, as she converted the thee-point play the old fashioned way putting Iowa ahead 6-4. There was yet another three for Iowa, this time by Wahlin putting Iowa ahead 9-4 just three minutes into the game.
However, pressure by Penn State gave Iowa troubles early on as Iowa committed four turnovers in the first five minutes of the game, and generally did not look sharp on offense as several of their shots looked rushed or highly contested.
“These guys are great shooters, they just need to relax, I think they felt a little bit of pressure coming in,” said Bluder.
Nonetheless, another three by Krei pushed the Iowa lead to five, 18-13 with 11:01 left.
Penn State responded with an 11-4 run that would tie game at 23 with 6:45 remaining in the half.
“Michigan State is obviously a tremendous team. They got a great win today, and we’ll just play our hearts out tomorrow that’s all that we can do. The first time we played them we got them in our place, but we had the home court advantage obviously. So this time on a neutral floor, I think our players will look forward to the challenge.”
Printy broke Iowa out of a drought, hitting a three which was Iowa’s first field goal since the 7:11 mark. The trey put Iowa within two, 32-30 with just 38 seconds remaining, which would end up being the score going at the end of the first half.
Iowa started the second-half on a game-changing 15-4 run that saw Krei get hot and score nine of the 15 points.
Krei hit a three-pointer, got fouled on another three-point attempt and hit all three free-throws, and after a Penn State timeout, would hit another tri-fecta giving Iowa a 43-36 lead with 15:50 left.
Later, a three-point play the old-fashioned way by Machado pushed the Iowa lead to ten, 57-47 with 11:13 remaining.
Alexander displayed her heart and tenacity, as she drove the ball strong with the left getting into the lane, and finished strong with the foul, getting her and her teammates fired up. She would convert the and-one opportunity, stretching the Iowa cushion to 12, 65-53.
The next time down the floor for Iowa, Printy hit a three from the top of the key, putting Iowa ahead 68-53, and things looked doubtful for Penn State.
However, Penn State would not give up and free throws would later cut the lead to just seven, 68-61.
Iowa had a quick scare as Wahlin went down to the floor after a physical drive by Penn State’s Grant, and was forced to come out of the game.
However, Alexander had an answer for Iowa. She hit a jumper from the top of the key, and the next time down the floor for Iowa, hit a bomb from deep with the shot clock winding down. The three put Iowa ahead but double-digits again, 73-63 with 3:49 remaining.
Unfortunately, Alexander would foul out the next time down the floor, with 3:39 remaining, leaving Iowa without their leading scorer and rebounder for the remainder of the contest.
Wahlin returned with Penn State cutting the lead to seven, Machado answered as she attacked the basket, hitting the layup while getting fouled. Machado hit the free-throw to convert another three-point play for Iowa giving Iowa a 76-67 lead.
However, Wahlin would kiss a running-jumper off the glass with just 46 seconds left, and then hit four clutch free-throws down the stretch giving Iowa the 82-75 victory.
With the win, Iowa advances in the Big Ten Tournament, and will play Michigan State tomorrow at 4 p.m. Iowa time. The winner of that game will go on to play in the Big Ten Championship.
“Michigan State is obviously a tremendous team,” said Bluder. “They got a great win today, and we’ll just play our hearts out tomorrow that’s all that we can do. The first time we played them we got them in our place, but we had the home court advantage obviously. So this time on a neutral floor, I think our players will look forward to the challenge.”