Jan. 21, 2010
By Brandon Swedberg
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The University of Iowa women's basketball team scratched and clawed its way to a second Big Ten Conference victory by defeating Illinois, 74-65, Thursday in Assembly Hall.
The Hawkeyes fought hard in what proved to be a gritty and scrappy game for both teams. Iowa (9-10 overall, 2-6 Big Ten Conference) had all five of its starters in double digits with freshman Jaime Printy leading the way with 22 points. Printy also had four rebounds, four assists, two steals and went 8 of 8 from the free throw line.
"We had five players in double figures and I think that balanced scoring is so much better," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. "I love our balanced scoring and Illinois is a good defensive team. They have been holding teams to below 60 points and we scored 74 points. I thought it was a good shooting night for us."
Another player that stood out for Iowa was sophomore point guard Kamille Wahlin. Wahlin showed leadership by playing through back spasms that have been plaguing here for several days. Wahlin was questionable entering the game, but her gutsy performance showed true character and heart on her part.
Wahlin played 31 minutes scoring 12 points and nabbing six rebounds.
"It was good to have Kamille back tonight," Bluder said. "This is the best she has felt in over a week. She was 4 of 9 from 3-point range for us. She was a big spark. She had six solid defensive rebounds for us as well. It was a big spark to have her back on the floor."
The first half was a back-and-forth game with both teams trading baskets. Iowa was trailing 16-11 with 14 minutes, 27 seconds left in the first half. The Hawkeyes then went on and 8-0 run started by a fast-break jumper from Kachine Alexander to cut the lead to three at the 14:07 mark. Printy then knocked down two free throws reducing the Illini lead to one. On Iowa's nest possession, freshman Trisha Nesbitt ran down the lane and floated up a teardrop shot to give the Hawkeyes the lead, 17-16. Printy then created a steal, and threw a quick pass to a wide open Kelly Krei for lay-up, increasing the Iowa advantage to three, 19-16.
The rest of the first half was a nail-biter, with both teams looking to go into the locker with a lead at halftime. However, Alexander led the charge for Iowa knocking down a free throw to give Iowa a halftime lead, 38-37.
The 1-point halftime lead was all the Hawkeyes needed as they never trailed the rest of the game. The team shot 51 percent from the field (25 of 49) and 45 percent from beyond the arc (9 of 20).
Alexander ended the night with another double-double, scoring 10 points and bringing down 12 rebounds. Krei added 13 and went 5 of 8 from the three-point line. Nesbitt gave Iowa five points from the bench as well as one point from Kelsey Cermak. Freshman Morgan Johnson was the other starter to get to the double digit mark with 11 points and seven rebounds.
"She did a great job tonight," Bluder said of Johnson. "She didn't back down to Jenna Smith just because she is a freshman, which showed a lot on her part."
Illinois' Smith led all players with 23 points.
The win also ends a four-game Hawkeye losing skid.
Iowa looks to even its record at 10-10 as the Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their next game Sunday, Jan. 24, against Northwestern. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.