Dec. 31, 2009
by Sean Neugent
IOWA CITY, IowaDespite not scoring a field goal for 14-minutes in the second half, Iowa clamped down on defense and earned their first Big Ten win with a 61-51 victory over the University of Wisconsin on Thursday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes shot 19 of 46 (41 percent) from the field, 6 of 18 (33 percent) from three-point land, and 17 of 28 (61 percent) from the charity stripe. They were led by Kachine Alexander who had 21 points and 10 rebounds and was 12 of 16 in free throws. Kamille Wahlin put up 13 points and Jaime Printy added 12 for the Hawkeyes. Both teams struggled controlling the ball as the Hawkeyes turned it over 23 times to the Badgers 24 miscues.
"We're not going to worry about how we get wins at this point," UI Head Coach Lisa Bluder said. "Obviously we're going to evaluate the films and make sure we correct some of those problems. There were way too many turnovers and missed free throws. Those were situations we have to be able to control to win close games. Luckily we had a cushion built that we were able to sustain most of those and Wisconsin turned the ball over more than we did."
The win, Iowa's first against two Big Ten Conference losses, improved the Hawkeyes to 8-6 overall. Wisconsin dropped to 11-3, 1-2.
Neither team could muster much of anything to open the game. After each team hit a free throw, Printy drove the lane and hit a layup for the first basket of the game. Wisconsin's Rae Lin D'Alie answered draining a trifecta on the next possession for a 4-3 Badgers lead with 17-minutes left in the first half.
Wahlin opened up the scoring attack for the Hawkeyes with a three-pointer that was part of three long-range jumpers in four possessions for Iowa. Kelly Krei jumped into the three-point fest with one of her own to give Iowa a 16-5 lead.
The Badgers quickly answered cutting the Hawkeyes lead to five points with a few mid-range jumpers to trail 19-14 as the Hawkeyes struggled to score for close to five-minutes. The Hawkeyes went into the locker room with a 27-18 advantage.
Alexander scored on the first possession coming out of halftime for the Hawkeyes to take a comfortable 29-18 lead.
Wisconsin's Alyssa Karel hit a two-point jumper to make it a ten-point game before the Hawkeyes went on a 10-2 run and 40-22 advantage with three-pointers coming from Alexander and Wahlin.
The lead continued to grow and a few minutes later the Hawkeyes had a commanding 20-point advantage after Alexander assisted Nesbitt for a layup. Wisconsin could not find the range as the Hawkeyes played lock-down defense. Karel was the only Badgers player to score in the opening minutes of the second half with six-points.
"I thought the first half was pretty up-tempo," Bluder said. "We got out and ran a little bit. When we got the 20-point lead we changed our philosophy there and said `let's be patient with our offense and try and wear their defense down."
"We got out and ran a little bit. When we got the 20-point lead we changed our philosophy there and said `let's be patient with our offense and try and wear their defense down."
Wisconsin started to make stops on the defensive end and slowly cut into Iowa's lead and was within striking distance at 44-31. The Badgers continued to hold the Hawkeyes silent on the offensive end and trailed 47-39 after Karel hit two free throws.
"We haven't been in that situation very many times this year, so it was a little unusual for us," Bluder said. "I think with a young team they think we are up 20 and there is 13-minutes left, we are going to win this game. That might have happened in high school, but it doesn't always happen in college. We have to be able to keep the excitement, keep the energy high even when we have those big leads."
The Hawkeyes were held without a field goal for 14-minutes during the second half, but several trips to the charity stripe helped Iowa hold off Wisconsin. With 13-seconds remaining in the second half Wahlin was able to hit a layup to finish off any hope the Badgers had at a comeback.
The Hawkeyes will travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Gophers on Sunday with a 2:00 p.m. tipoff.