Hawkeyes Roll in Own Tournament


Nov. 21, 2010

Box Score | Photo Gallery 1 | Photo Gallery 2


IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team proved to be too tough a challenge in the championship bout of the KCRG-TV 9 Hawkeye Challenge, defeating Central Michigan, 90-79, on Sunday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Kachine Alexander tied her own tournament record with 18 rebounds, Morgan Johnson scored a game-high 21 points, and Iowa had four players score in double figures in the championship rout.

“I’m extremely happy with this win,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “We gave up 79 points tonight, and it’s still 18 points below (Central Michigan’s) average. I’m happy with the balanced scoring again. For the second game in a row we’re one player away from having five players in double figures, so I think that’s great. I think this was a very good win for us. When we look back at the end of the year I think this is going to be one where we say, `that was a good win’.”

A good win it was. The Hawkeyes opened the game on fire, shooting 51-percent from the field in the first half, and raced out of the blocks right after tip-off. For the game, Iowa made 33 of 74 field goals (44.6 percent) and scored 36 points in the paint. The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 53-49, and attempted a tournament record 31 3-point field goals.

Alexander was named MVP of the two-day event with Johnson joining her on the all-tournament team. There wasn’t room for any more Hawkeyes on the all-tourney squad, although guards Jaime Printy (18 points, six rebounds, five assists) and Kamille Wahlin (14-2-5) would have fit nicely in the mix of all-stars.

Just seven seconds into the championship game, Johnson put Iowa on the scoreboard, hitting a contested shot underneath. She was fouled, but missed the and-one opportunity.

Wahlin and Printy each knocked down their first two shots of the game, both from 3-point range, giving Iowa an 8-2 lead just one minute into the game. Both Wahlin and Printy had a game-high five assists.

“I just think psychologically for a player, it’s really nice,” said Bluder. “They feel better about themselves if they hit that first one or two (shots). They feel it, they feel like they’re in the zone.”

Iowa got its defense going too, which in turn translated into offense on the other end.

Kelly Krei blocked a Central Michigan shot underneath that started an Iowa fastbreak. Wahlin pushed the ball up the court, and lobbed the ball to the front rim where Krei was rewarded with a layup for her effort on the defensive end, putting Iowa ahead 16-5 and forcing Central Michigan to call timeout with 16:15 remaining.

The Chippewas went on a 12-5 rally to climb within four points, 21-17, before Krei and Hannah Draxton hit consecutive shots stretching the Hawkeye lead to 26-17.

After an Iowa miss and Central Michigan rebound, Iowa smothered the Chippewas under the basket and trapped Taylor Johnson, forcing a turnover and regaining possession. Krei then hit a contested shot under the basket giving Iowa the 36-26 lead with 9:04 left in the first half.

Alexander drove the ball right at the defender initiating contact and drawing the foul. She made the layup and converted the and-one opportunity to give Iowa the 39-31 advantage. However, Central Michigan used a 13-5 run over the next five minutes to tie the game at 44 with 2:45 remaining.

Two consecutive baskets by Wahlin — the last with a second remaining in the half — put Iowa up 50-47 going into the break.

After a free throw by Johnson, Wahlin got back into the swing of things hitting the first field goal of the second half. Her 3-pointer gave Iowa a 54-50 edge just one minute into the half.

Later, after a Central Michigan miss, Alexander grabbed the board and led a fast break. Coming down the court she kicked back to Printy who was trailing on the left wing, and hit the 3-pointer in transition giving Iowa the 59-50 lead with 17:24 left in the game.

There was more run-and-gun fun for Iowa, as Wahlin zipped down the court crossing over and going behind her back, knifed into the lane and finished with the layup giving Iowa the 63-52 advantage with 15:58 left.

“We got our fast break going,” said Bluder. “We got a couple baskets in a row off of our transition, forcing the timeout. Jaime hits that long range 3 off of transition; I think that really took a lot of momentum away from them when it was close.”

According to Bluder, that is exactly what Iowa wants to do. It’s enjoyable for the team, and it is enjoyable for fans to watch.

However, Central Michigan used a 10-4 run over the next four minutes to bring the score within four, 67-62, with 11:44 remaining.

Iowa answered any run that Central Michigan would make. Alexander scored eight of Iowa’s final 23 points in the final 10 minutes, and Iowa pulled away, getting the 11-point victory.

The Hawkeyes averaged 88.5 points in the tournament and are scoring more than 89 points in their last three games.

Iowa travels to Cancun, Mexico, to take part in the Caribbean Challenge on Nov. 25 and 26. The Hawkeyes play James Madison on Thursday and Virginia Tech on Friday.

“Who gets to say they go to Cancun for Thanksgiving,” Alexander said. “All the parents come and I love all our parents, they all come it’s kind of like a family oriented type of deal.”