Jan. 8, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — If this is what the Iowa-Nebraska women’s basketball rivalry is going to be like, Big Ten Conference fans are in for a treat.
In a game that featured nine ties and eight lead changes, the visiting Cornhuskers didn’t secure its 77-72 victory until guard Lindsey Moore made two free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining Sunday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
With the win, Nebraska climbed into a share of the conference lead at 14-1 overall, 3-0 in Big Ten play; Iowa is 10-7, 2-2.
The Hawkeyes grabbed their biggest lead of 46-38 with 14:41 left in the game on two free throws by junior guard Jaime Printy. Printy poured in a game-high 27 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 from the line. She also contributed five assists and three steals.
Half of Iowa’s point total came in the paint. UI junior center Morgan Johnson scored 21 points with 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
There were two keys that led to Iowa’s demise: rebounding and 3-point defense. During the final 20 minutes, when Nebraska scored 46 points, the Cornhuskers out-rebounded the Hawkeyes, 17-9, and made 7-of-11 3-point field goals. Iowa was 1-of-6 from long range in the second half.
“I thought the thing that was different from the first half to the second half was their rebounding, or maybe our lack of,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “That really was a big change, (an eight) rebound swing in the second half was a big change. They put down some tough shots and you have to credit them for that.”
Iowa went from a 62-61 lead to trailing by five points (67-62) in a span of 1:25 from the 5:34 mark to 4:09. Nebraska extended the margin to 70-62 with a 3-pointer by Brandi Jeffery from the left corner with 3:27 remaining.
Printy converted two free throws, allowing the Hawkeyes to creep within six at 70-64, but time was becoming an enemy. The Huskers turned the ball over with 2:51 left and Kamille Wahlin (12 points, four assists) made them pay with a left-handed layup off an assist from Samantha Logic. With the score 70-66 with 2:27 left, Nebraska was forced to use a timeout.
The first dagger came from Cornhusker Jordan Hooper, who launched — and sank — a long 3-pointer with 2:10 left, putting Nebraska ahead, 73-66.
But talk about resilience: Iowa answered with layups from Wahlin and Printy, and the margin was back to three (73-70) with 81 seconds left. And when Krei grabbed a rebound after a Cornhusker miss, Iowa was back in business…except for an inopportune tie-up against Wahlin in front of the Hawkeye bench that returned the ball to Nebraska.
Hooper and Wahlin traded baskets, and with 10.2 seconds left, the Cornhusker lead was still three, 75-72. Moore cinched the outcome by making two free throws with 9.5 seconds left.
Iowa led 33-31 at halftime and after the first 20 minutes, Johnson had amassed a second consecutive double-double for the first time in her career. At that moment, she had 10 points and 11 rebounds; the Hawkeye scoring leader was Printy with 13.
The game was as close as a two-point margin would indicate, with the exception of field goal attempts. Iowa took 32 shots, making 13 (40.6 percent); Nebraska attempted seven fewer, making 10 (40 percent).
Johnson had three blocked shots at the break, and Printy added three steals. Thanks in part to the inside play of Johnson, the Hawkeyes held a 16-8 advantage in paint points.
As expected in the Big Ten, there will be little time to exhale for the Hawkeyes. One advantage is that they get an entire week without a contest; on the flip side, the next challenge is against league-leading Purdue (13-3, 3-0) on Sunday, Jan. 15, in West Lafayette, Ind.
“It comes at a pretty good time for us; we could really use it,” Bluder said of the week off. “Obviously Sam and Kalli (Hansen) are kind of banged up; Theairra (Taylor) is a little banged up. So it will nice to get some rest for those players.”