Nov. 16, 2010
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By MICHELE DANNO
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa literally stole the women’s basketball game from the Bradley Braves on Tuesday in its home-opener at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
With 17 steals — compared to Bradley’s four — the Hawkeyes scored 35 of their 91 points off turnovers and defeated the Braves, 91-53.
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said her team fulfilled many goals for its first matchup at home.
“We talked about how we really wanted to establish ourselves on our home court, and that was kind of our point of focus today” Bluder said. “I thought we did a really good job of that. We came out and took it away pretty quickly, and then we maintained that throughout the second half.”
Iowa took control early in the game starting with a jump shot from sophomore Morgan Johnsons, posting the first points on the scoreboard at 2-0.
After back-to-back turnovers for both Iowa and Bradley, Bradley had back-to-back baskets with a 3-pointer from Katie Yohn and a layup by Raisa Taylor, giving the Braves their only lead of the game at 5-3.
The Hawkeyes held the Braves in the single-digits as they made their way to a sizeable lead with a slew of blocks and steals.
With just under 15 minutes left in the first half, Iowa doubled its points over the Braves with a string of shots that excited the crowd. Starting with a 3-point basket by junior Kamille Wahlin to bring the score to 11-8, back-to-back steals for the Hawkeyes led to a jumper by Kachine Alexander and a 3-pointer by Hannah Draxton, doubling Iowa’s score to 16-8.
While the Hawkeyes ran with the score, the Braves maintained a lead in one aspect of the game — fouls. The Braves’ 10 fouls in the first half compared to Iowa’s seven, gave Iowa 12 free-throw attempts, which they converted nine.
“We talked about how we really wanted to establish ourselves on our home court, and that was kind of our point of focus today. I thought we did a really good job of that. We came out and took it away pretty quickly, and then we maintained that throughout the second half.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder
With just under five minutes in left in the first half, junior Megan Considine brought the crowd to its feet once again with a steal that resulted in a breakaway layup.
Draxton and Wahlin finished the half with a 3-pointer and a jumper, respectively, bringing the score to 44-24 at the half.
Both teams returned from the locker room fired up, as the Braves attempted to close the 20-point margin. But Iowa’s Kelly Krei picked up where the Hawkeyes left off with a 3-point shot in the first minute of the game, followed by a layup off Wahlin’s steal to bring the score to 49-24 at the beginning of the second half.
The Hawkeyes held a solid 20-point lead over the Braves throughout the second half, capitalizing on their turnovers and foul troubles.
By the end of the game, Bradley had 24 fouls compared to Iowa’s 18, and Braves’ Kelly Frings fouled out with about a minute left in the game.
To close out the action, sophomore Hawkeye Jaime Printy made a layup just as the shot-clock sounded, drawing the foul from Bradley’s Raisa Taylor and scoring the free-throw to bring the score to 91-53.
By the end of the game, five Hawkeyes boasted double-digits — Printy with 21, Wahlin with 17, Alexander with 14 and Krei and Draxton with 12.
Alexander said her team’s ability to capitalize on Bradley’s errors was a result of the hard work they put in over the summer.
“With 17 steals, compared to their four, well that’s amazing compared to last year,” Alexander said. “Defense is all about being in shape, and I think we really worked hard to get in shape this summer. Just seeing how our summer work carried over, it was just fantastic.”
Draxton said the Hawkeyes have reworked their strategy for stealing the ball, and the new method seems to be working.
“As soon as we see our teammate got the steal, we’re sending two people up the court to help,” Draxton said. “That’s really our mindset this year — to push it so we’re all kind of thinking as soon as we get it we’re going to get it and go.”
The Hawkeyes have a few days off before hosting Northeastern on Saturday at noon.