Jan. 5, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — It took 39 minutes and 50 seconds for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team to make its first 3-pointer, and it came just in the nick of time.
Senior Kamille Wahlin’s long ball with 10.9 seconds remaining evened the tally at 55, and Iowa carried the momentum into overtime to notch a 69-62 victory over Illinois on Thursday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We picked a fine time to finally make a 3-pointer,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder with a laugh. “Kamille has done that twice for us this year. That’s what you want is your seniors to step up and want the ball in their hands. For her to be 0-for-3 from 3 and to make that was huge. I think it took all the wind out of their sails for overtime.”
The victory improves Iowa’s record to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten, while the Fighting Illini fall to 5-10 and 0-3 in conference play.
Trailing 55-52 with 22 seconds remaining, Iowa drew up a play for Wahlin. When the play was on the drawing board, Iowa was 0-of-12 from 3-point land, but that didn’t matter. The Hawkeyes needed a 3-pointer to keep the game alive.
“We had to go for it,” said Bluder. “I will continue to believe in our 3-point shooters, no matter what, because they are the right people to shoot the ball. It’s just a matter of time. For us, it just happened in the last 12 seconds of this game.”
With Adrienne GodBold defending, Wahlin received the pass, took two dribbles before connecting on a step back 3-pointer to even the tally at 55 and send the game into overtime.
“We took a timeout and coach drew up a play for Jaime (Printy) to drive and kick, so I knew it was coming to me,” said Wahlin, who finished with 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting. “Thankfully it went in.”
“We followed the game plan up until the final 22.7 seconds,” said Illinois head coach Jolette Law. “I told her (GodBold), I don’t care if you let her get two, but do not let her get a 3. We know her move, and I knew she was going to do the step back 3. Like big players do, they make big shots, and she hit a big shot tonight.”
The Hawkeyes carried the momentum into overtime, scoring the first seven points to take control. Printy opened with a pair of free throws to make the score 57-55 and her 3-pointer at the 3:46 mark made the score 60-55. The Hawkeyes pushed their advantage to 69-58 on a Wahlin lay-up with 53 seconds left before running out seven point winners.
Printy paced the Hawkeyes with 20 points, making 11-of-14 attempts from the charity stripe. Junior Morgan Johnson posted her ninth career double-double, finishing with 14 points and 16 rebounds. She went 5-of-10 from the field.
Iowa shot 32.3 percent (21-of-65) from the floor and 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from long range, but made up for it by making 25-of-32 attempts from the charity stripe. The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 49-45, and committed 10 turnovers.
Coming out of the halftime break, Illinois pushed its lead to six three times in the first four minutes. The Hawkeyes battled back to tie the game at 42 on a Samantha Logic lay-up with 10:23 remaining.
A GodBold steal and layup with 6:04 to play put Illinois up 51-47, but Johnson and Kalli Hansen followed with a lay-up and short bank shot to even the tally at 51 with 3:13 left.
Karisma Penn, who paced Illinois with 20 points and nine boards, put the Illini back on top, 53-51, with 2:57 to play. After Johnson made 1-of-2 free throws, GodBold connected on a jumper with 2:10 remaining to push Illinois’ lead to 55-52. Neither team would score until Wahlin’s triple sent the game into overtime.
Iowa opened the game making 7-of-12 shots to build a 14-11 lead at the 13:38 mark. After a Lydia McCully 3-pointer put Illinois up 20-18, a jumper by Wahlin evened the tally at 20 with 9:17 remaining in the half.
With the game tied at 27, Illinois netted the final four points to take a 31-27 advantage into the locker room. After making seven of its first 12 shots, Iowa made 6-of-22 to close out the half to finish with a 39.4 shooting percentage (13-of-33). The Illini finished with a 38.7 shooting percentage over the opening 20 minutes (12-of-31).
The Hawkeyes return to action Sunday afternoon, hosting No. 19 Nebraska at 3 p.m. (CT). The game is Girl Scout and “White Out” day inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena with tickets being $5.
“We know they went out to Penn State, which is a very tough environment and tough arena to play in, and took them down,” said Wahlin. “Each game in the Big Ten is important. We have to put this one in our back pocket, be confident, and move on to our next one.”
“We have an opportunity on Sunday, facing a top-25 team,” said Bluder. “Our crowd is getting behind us, and we really appreciate that.”