Both the men’s and women’s basketball team traveled to Drake last Saturday with hopes of bringing home the mythical state championship.
The women won the crown, the men fell short.
The women opened up the day with an 11 a.m. start at the Knapp Center.
Drake came out fast and jumped to a 9-2 lead, but the Hawkeyes stepped up their defense, ran their offense and outscored the Bulldogs 35-12 to take a 37-21 halftime lead and coasted to a 71-53 win.
“To be able to win the state championship,” said Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder. “Which is one of our goals, but also to do it in a convincing manner and to do it on the road. This is the only road game we had of the three and to be able to come out and get an 18-point road win I think is really good going into the Big Ten season.”
The game could be called the “Welcome back Wendy game”. Wendy Ausdemore, the 6-2 senior, has struggled with her scoring in the last couple of games but against Drake she showed why she is one of the top 3-point shooters in the country.
Twenty points on 4-6 shooting from behind the arc plus four steals and Wendy has her mojo back.
Even when she wasn’t scoring, she was doing all the other things that make her an all-around player.
Wendy didn’t force her shot, played great defense and hit her free throws.
When she is on she has the quickest release I have seen and it was only a matter of time before her shots would fall.
“It was so nice to see Wendy come out of her slump and hit some of her shots,” said Coach Bluder. “Joann Hamlin played really solid for us and Kachine Alexander was her ‘steady Eddie’ usual self.”
What makes Joann so valuable is that she not only can play the four or five position, she can step out, hit the three or the 12-foot jumper. She also blocked five shots and had two steals to go along with her 14 points.
Kachine continues to impress me with her ability to drive in with her left hand, lead the team in rebounds with eight and dish out five assists.
She usually covers the other team's best offensive player and is shooting 74% from the free throw line.
It shows how much balance the Hawkeyes have when all-Big Ten guard Kristi Smith has only five points but still hands out five assists in 22 minutes.
Megan Skouby also had five blocks and scored 12 points including a 3-pointer.
The Iowa defense, which has played solid in their three-game winning streak, forced the Bulldogs into 20 turnovers.
The men weren’t quite as fortunate with the 3 p.m. tip off. They played the Bulldogs pretty even in the first half, trailing only 15-10 at the 10 minute mark, but the Hawks went cold and Drake led 32-18 at half and went on to win 60-43.
You win with the three and you can lose with the three. Last Saturday, Iowa hit only 8-29 three-pointers and didn’t get anything going inside in their third loss of the year.
Devan Bawinkel, who has been shooting well so far, couldn’t find the basket going 1-8 from behind the line.
Anthony Tucker, who came back after being suspended, was the only bright spot for the Hawks with 12 points on 4-10 3-pointers.
Last year, when Iowa played Drake in Iowa City, they didn’t shoot ONE free throw. They shot seven last Saturday making five while the Bulldogs went 23-29... you do the math.
I was a little surprised Iowa got smoked 41-24 on the boards but Drake seemed a step faster to every loose ball.
It’s only one loss but it shows how vulnerable Iowa is when they don’t come out with intensity and when the three pointers aren’t falling. Thirty-one percent shooting is not going to win many games.
It also didn’t help that Cyrus Tate and Jake Kelly got into foul trouble early.
Iowa has a decent nine-man rotation and everyone has to contribute.
It was good to see Jarryd Cole step in for Cyrus. The 6-7, 250 pound sophomore played 21 minutes and led the Hawks in rebounds with five.