Feb. 16, 2012
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By ADAM MEIER
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Kamille Wahlin has gained a reputation for having a flair for the dramatic during her basketball career as a guard at the University of Iowa.
On Thursday at Crisler Arena, Wahlin’s stellar basketball resume earned another stripe when the senior nailed a game-winning 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to take down Michigan, 58-57. It is Iowa’s sixth consecutive win.
The Hawkeyes never led prior to Wahlin’s clutch shot.
“Kamille, obviously, big 3,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It doesn’t surprise me. I think this is the eighth time in her career that she’s hit a shot in the last minute to put us up or ties the game.”
Wahlin paced Iowa with 18 points while playing all 40 minutes. Freshman Samantha Logic added 12 points while grabbing a career-high 18 rebounds and dishing out four assists. Morgan Johnson scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
With just over two minutes left in the game, the Wolverines bolstered their lead to 57-49 after a quick four-point spurt. The outlook appeared gloomy for Bluder’s Bunch, but instead of packing their bags, the Hawkeyes clamped down the defense and clawed back.
After a defensive stop, Wahlin came running off of a screen on an inbounds play and pulled the trigger on a 3-pointer that cut Michigan’s lead to 57-52 with 1:57 to go. The Hawkeye defense then registered another stop,, and this time Logic pulled up from the top the key, hitting a 3-pointer that made the deficit two points with 1:17 remaining.
On Michigan’s next possession, the Hawkeyes used a full-court press to force an errant pass and once again regained possession.
With the ball in her hands, Wahlin found an opening in the defense and stroked in a 3-pointer from two feet behind the arc to give Iowa a 58-57 lead with 48 seconds left.
“Coach [Bluder] drew up a play for me to either get to the rim or hit Kelly Krei for 3″, Wahlin said. “Michigan covered that well, so I came back out and Morgan [Johnson] gave me a good screen where I was able to basically get a wide open look at the rim. I wanted to knock it down for my team, because when you’re a senior that’s one of those things you want to do to step up.”
After Wahlin’s go-ahead 3-pointer, the Iowa defense got yet another stop and with 22 seconds remaining, Wahlin had a chance to extend the Hawkeyes’ lead, but missed the front end of the 1-and-1, giving the Wolverines a chance to win on the last possession.
“I wasn’t too happy when it didn’t go in,” Wahlin said of her late missed free throw. “My teammates picked me up and said, `Hey we’ve got your back, we’re going to get this stop’. It just goes to show that we have a good team. I was upset with missing it, but I knew that my teammates would come through at the end.”
Sam Arnold’s first 3-point attempt fell short for the Wolverines, and her second was partially deflected as time expired.
With their sixth straight win, the Hawkeyes move to 17-10 overall and 9-5 in Big Ten play. Michigan falls to 18-8, 7-6.
Through 11 minutes of play, Iowa had converted on 2-of-20 field goal attempts, both courtesy of Wahlin. Iowa’s inability to put the ball in the basket early in the game put the Hawkeyes in a double-digit hole, but they kept chipping away.
“I’m proud of our team because in the first half we weren’t shooting the ball well,” Bluder said. “We told them at halftime we’re going to win this game with defense and rebounds and that’s exactly what we did in the second half.”
Trailing 26-13, senior Kelly Krei hit a 3-pointer from the corner that brought the deficit to 10 with 3:08 left in the first half. The Wolverines answered Krei’s 3-pointer on their next possession with a 3-pointer of their own by Arnold. Facing their largest deficit of the first half of 16 points, Iowa got a much-needed boost just before halftime when sophomore Theairra Taylor drained a jumper from the corner as time expired, bringing the score to 33-19.
“This is a really good win for us, to come on the road and win at Michigan,” Bluder added. “We have a lot of respect for them, for the defense they play. I think they’re at 31 RPI coming into this game, so this is a very big win for us. It keeps us on a roll. This is our sixth straight win in the Big Ten, three of them on the road.”
The Hawkeyes go for their seventh-straight victory on Thursday, Feb. 23, against Northwestern in Evanston. Game time is 7 p.m. (CT).