IOWA CITY– The Hawkeyes won their first game, 79-64, over Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament with balanced scoring, winning the rebound battle 40-31, and taking care of the ball with only 11 turnovers.
“There’s no superstars on this team,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. “They’re all great players. They get along as you can tell on the floor. They really pass the ball and are genially happy about each other's success.”
I’m not sure if I agree with the coach.
Iowa has three super seniors that have led the way all season and they did just that with their 21st win of the season.
Wendy Ausdemore led the way with a season-high 25 points. The 6-2 senior has been on fire ever since she moved to the four position when Joann Hamlin went out with an ankle injury. Wendy was 4-5 from 3-point land and had seven rebounds. She averaged 9.8 points per game in the first 18 games. Since moving to power forward her average jumped to 16.5.
Kristi Smith has been the glue that has held this team together through thick and thin. She is ‘poetry in motion’ when she sets up to hit her jump shot.
I have been watching basketball for over 40 years (that’s scary) and I haven’t seen too many right handed shooters like Kristi able to float to their left and still make the shot.
She is one of the best when the other team hits a couple of baskets and Iowa needs a score. Fifteen points, five assists and only one turnover are a solid day's work for the 5-6 senior.
Megan Skouby gets banged around a lot, but the 6-6 senior hangs in there. She had 10 points, five rebounds, a block and an assist.
Throw in super sophomore Kachine Alexander and freshman Kamille Wahlin and you pick your poison when you try to double-team any Hawkeye.
Kach had her eighth double-double with 15 points and 13 boards while Kamille had eight points and four assists. Joann Hamlin and Hannah Draxten came off the bench and both grabbed five rebounds with Joann hitting four points.
They may not be superstars, but they are sure fun to watch!
Well, that fun only lasted one game as the Hawkeyes were run over by a freight train named Ohio State, who beat Purdue Sunday to win the conference crown.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 20-2 lead, never looked back and knocked Iowa out of the Big Ten tournament.
One of the only bright spots in the game for the Hawks was Kristi Smith scoring 11 points and handing out five assists. She became the first Hawkeye ever to total 400 points and 100 assists in three straight seasons. That’s pretty impressive and shows how steady the 5-6 senior has been.
Iowa finished the season 21-10 and will hopefully have a decent seed when they host the NCAA first round in Carver Sunday, March 22.