Iowa Women Tip Off Season with Victory

The home team plowed over Sourthern Illinois, 66-50, in the opening round of the Hawkeye Challenge Friday night. Junior Johanna Solverson paced with winners with 16 points, which included perfect 6-6 field goal shooting (4-4 on threes). Freshman Krista VandeVenter debuted with nine points and a game-high seven boards. Read what Coach Lisa Bluder, Solverson and Crystal Smith had to say about the win in this Quotes and Notes HN.com Premium Package.

**QUOTES**

LISA BLUDER:

Opening Statement -We played a lot better in the second half. We were maybe too excited in the first half. We made a few mental errors. I felt like we just didn't take our time running the offense. Our defense was good, but offensively we could have done better in the first half.

In the second half, we ran our offense better. We rebounded better. Jo obviously had a nice night shooting. That's a fun feeling. Also, I like the six steals she came up with.

Abby played well as our point guard with four assists and one turnover. I love her full-court passing. She did a nice job on breaks with that.

We ran a lot of people in the game; a lot of minutes. Our defense was good until the last five minutes. They scored 19 points in the last 6 1/2 minutes of this game. That was too many. We had a little defensive letdown in the last few minutes of the game. That's kind of happened to us the last two exhibitions.

We have to put a stop to that, and we have to become closers on the defensive end.

On if Iowa will use much zone this year - It will be something that you see more out of our team this year. We feel like we're not a very deep team right now, and we need to play more zone. We spent a lot of time in the preseason working on our zone. We definitely want to get more experience. We played it a lot tonight. But we need to do that. We need to get that game experience playing that zone until we feel comfortable with it.

On if the Hawkeyes were consciously trying to work the ball inside in the second half - We talked a lot about in-out. Against the zone, we really like the in-outs. When we got the ball on our overload side, we started to get the ball into Jamie in the second half. I just felt like in the second half we ran our offense so much better. In the first half, we were in a frenzy a little bit.

We toned down at halftime. We reversed the ball better in the second half and did a nice job getting the ball inside to the post.

In the first half, we didn't move the ball with a purpose. We were just moving it to get rid of it and not really moving it with looking at our options within the offense. The first half, we crashed pretty well, but we couldn't convert off of those crashes. We talked about at halftime that we need to continue to crash and if you don't have a good shot, pull it back out and reset up in the offense.

On her team's 12 steals - We've talked a lot about steals and deflections and defensive rebounds. We're trying to emphasize a lot that we want deflections. Deflections will lead into steals. We had 12 steals tonight, and we can do a little bit better in that area.

Rebounding was good in the second half. It started out pretty good then we really weren't very good. Then, in the second half, we approved immensely.

On of this is how she expects Jo to play every night - One hundred percent shooting? Sure. (Puts her arm around Solverson) Can you do that every night?

No, but we saw a little bit more of what Jo is capable of doing and the type of player she came here touted to be. She demonstrated that tonight. But Jo has had a good preseason. She's practiced like this since Oct. 15.

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JOHANNA SOLVERSON:

On What It Feels Like When All of Your Shots are going in - It feels nice. You kind of want to have the ball in your hands to create more things. If they're going to step off of you, you have to make them respect you and try to take that shot.

On feeling more of a responsibility on a young team - Yeah, I feel like the freshmen do look up to us as upper classmen, certain people in particular. Crystal and I are trying to bond the guard-post thing.

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CRYSTAL SMITH:

On how she felt the team played - We came out and we did really well. Something that's very important is the intensity. Whenever we have that intensity, we always do well on offense and defense.

Like (Bluder) said, in the first half we came out and just kind of ran through it. In the second half, we calmed down. As soon as we did that, you could tell in our offense and defense.

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**NOTES**

MISFIRING: Both teams struggled with shooting in the first half as each played a 2-3 match-up zone. Southern Illinois shot 1-12 (8.3 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc before the intermission.

The Hawkeyes picked up their pace in the second half, shooting x percent and scoring x after the break. Iowa did a much better job of running its offense and also got going when the Salukis went to person-to-person defense.

REST AREA: Iowa rested it starters for long stretches in the second half once the game was in hand. The game ended shortly after 7 p.m., leaving the Hawkeyes about 18 hours before playing Missouri in the championship on Saturday.

FRESHMEN FODDER: Newcomer Krista VandeVenter started and played pretty well for her first time out. She, like her teammates, appeared a little nervous early on but the Minnesota native nailed two of her three, second-half field goal attempts and paced the team with seven rebounds for the night.

Freshman starter Abby Emmert ran the point admirably, dishing out four assists to one turnover. Reserve C-F Stacy Schlapkohl also looked solid.

I really like the athleticism of VanderVenter and Schlapkohl. They get up and down the floor really well. VanderVenter looks like she'll be a rebounding machine, and Schlapkohl could end up being a shot blocker.


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