Dec. 30, 2011
By ADAM MEIER
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It's no secret with the University of Iowa women's basketball team that as the long-range shooting goes, so goes the team. This held true Friday night as the Hawkeyes (8-5, 1-0) made 12 3-pointers and defeated Northwestern (10-4, 0-1), 86-55, in the Big Ten opener on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"We've been waiting awhile for this, and it really feels good," said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. "This feels kind of like the right game where we played a complete game."
With Iowa trailing 13-12 eight minutes into the first half, senior Kamille Wahlin nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key that gave the Hawkeyes the lead and ignited a furious run. Soon after Wahlin's 3-pointer, Jamie Printy stole a Northwestern pass, threw a deep outlet pass to Wahlin, who then pulled back and found a trailing Printy for a deep triple that gave the Hawkeyes a 19-15 lead with 9:52 left in the half.
Printy led the Hawkeyes with 20 points, eight assists and three steals.
The 3-point barrage continued as Kalli Hansen joined in with a 3-pointer of her own, which was followed quickly by three consecutive 3-pointers over the next minute; one hit by Printy and two by freshman Melissa Dixon, which capped Iowa's 20-5 run.
Dixon pitched in 10 points on the night.
"The kid is a shooter," said Bluder. "You know she's going to come in and put up shots. She's got one of those short memories. She doesn't remember how many she missed. She's going to keep shooting them."
Once the dust settled, the Hawkeyes led 35-18 after the run with 6:40 left until halftime.
The Hawkeyes built their lead to 43-22 at the half after Printy banked in a runner in traffic at the buzzer. Eight of the Hawkeyes' 14 first half field goals came from behind the arc.
The second half turned out to be the same story as the first. Iowa continued their impressive long distance shooting and, after back-to-back Wahlin 3-pointers, led Northwestern 61-34 with 11:56 left to play.
Iowa never let off the gas and continued to play aggressive defense, forcing the Wildcats into 17 turnovers and limiting them to 21-of-63 (33.3 percent) shooting for the game.
Wahlin finished with 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting; including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. She also had seven assists and six rebounds. Morgan Johnson had another good game, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds.
As a team, the Hawkeyes shot 31-of-68 (45.6 percent) from the field, including 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) from 3-point range.
The Hawkeyes moved the ball around effectively and efficiently all night, giving the shooters wide-open looks.
"I love the 24 assists," said Bluder. "I think that shows that we are passing the ball for high percentage shots, looking for our teammates. We are drawing the defense really well.
"We pushed and looked very unselfish out there. This was a really good way for us to start the Big Ten season."
The Hawkeyes now travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face unbeaten Ohio State on Monday afternoon. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. (CT), and it will be televised live on the BTN.