Nov. 6, 2011
By ADAM MEIER
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It was a tale of two halves Sunday for the University of Iowa women's basketball team.
"Good thing games are made of two halves," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said following a 65-51 exhibition win over Winona State. "We had the jitters or something to start out the first half of this game. I think we were pretty anxious to get out on the floor."
During the first 20 minutes, the Hawkeyes shot 25.8 percent from the field and scored 19 points. In the second half Iowa shot 55.9 percent and scored 46 points.
The Hawkeyes' first points didn't come until more than five minutes into the contest, courtesy of a driving layup by freshman Samantha Logic. Bluder's squad then came up with back-to-back steals which led to fast-break layups. The quick transition points gave Iowa an 11-7 lead with nine minutes left in the first half.
Senior Kamille Wahlin knocked down the second of her two 3-pointers with seven minutes remaining in the half to match Iowa's largest first half lead at 16-12. Later, junior Trisha Nesbitt fed freshman Melissa Dixon for another transition layup, giving the Hawkeyes a 19-17 lead with 4:39 left in the first half.
The Hawkeyes then went quiet and faced a 23-19 deficit at halftime thanks to the tough defense played by the Warriors.
"You could see us calm down in the second half and start playing our game. We'll build off the second half and it showed how our team will continue to grow and get better."
UI point guard
"I thought we were forcing our offense too much," Bluder said of her team's first half struggles. "We were not letting it [offense] work. We were trying to create too much for ourselves instead of just running our offense."
In a game that was defined by two drastically different halves of basketball, Iowa's offense proceeded to explode in the second period. Logic got the momentum started by drilling a 3-pointer just 10 seconds into the half. After being held scoreless in the first half, junior preseason All-American Jaime Printy made a 3-pointer of her own and junior Morgan Johnson followed with a jumper to give the Hawkeyes a 29-28 lead three minutes into the second half.
"I told the girls at halftime `Hey, the first half's over. We need to calm down,'" Logic said following the game. "We get a lot of confidence from each other. Once we saw a couple shots fall, things started to change."
"You could see us calm down in the second half and start playing our game," Wahlin said. "We'll build off the second half and it showed how our team will continue to grow and get better."
Senior Kelly Krei and Logic nailed consecutive shots from beyond the arc, building Iowa's lead to nine. Logic then drove the baseline using a spin move and finished a difficult layup to bring the advantage to 39-28 with 14:50 remaining.
Logic ended the game with 16 points, six assists, four rebounds and six steals.
Wahlin and Johnson each tallied 10 points and Printy scored six while accumulating five assists.
The Hawkeyes built a 59-44 lead with five minutes left after a 3-pointer by senior Kalli Hansen and layup by freshman Kathryn Reynolds. The switch to a zone defense stymied Winona State and allowed for Iowa to maintain a double-digit lead for the rest of the contest.
"Our zone defense was good and bad at the same time," Bluder said. "When we were fresh, we were very good at it. When we got tired, we weren't so good at it. We've got the players to do it; we just have to correct the mistakes that lead to open shots."
Bluder's team performed drastically better in every facet throughout the second half, including on defense. Iowa managed to hold Winona State to 31-percent shooting in the second half and 33 percent (19-of-58) for the game.
The Hawkeyes, on the other hand, shot an impressive 56 percent in the second half and 42 percent (27-of-65) for the game.
Iowa's regular season officially begins on Saturday, Nov. 12, against Harvard at 7 p.m., at Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.