The Iowa women's basketball team further solidified its NCAA Tournament bid and began working on its Big Dance seed by cruising to a 58-37 victory against Michigan on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes advanced to meet the Purdue tomorrow at Canseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Johanna Solverson and Megan Skouby led Iowa with 10 points apiece in the lowest-scoring game in Big Ten women's tournament history. Michigan's 37 points was the fewest amount of points given up in Big Ten Tournament history (39 by Northwestern in 2000 and 39 by Wisconsin in 2004). The low point total also represents the Hawkeyes' best of the season, topping 42 points yielded to Detroit (Dec. 2) and Northwestern (Feb. 28).
Iowa (21-9) has won 12 of its last 14 games. The Hawkeyes' last win at the Big Ten Tournament came against Michigan in 2005. They improved to 13-11 in the Big Ten Tournament.
"We came in prepared for this game," Solverson said. "We knew rebounding is a huge factor. We just crashed the boards well. Getting second-chance points is great."
Solverson snared nine rebounds as Iowa held an astounding 46-24 advantage on the boards, including a 14-5 margin on the offensive glass. Skouby (6) and JoAnn Hamlin (7) also enjoyed productive days in rebounding. Seven different Hawkeyes scored at least four points and eight different players grabbed at least three rebounds.
"We wanted to dominate the boards offensively and defensively," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "We can be a good rebounding team, so we wanted to use our strength and make it even better."
Michigan Coach Kevin Borseth, who made headlines with an outburst after being outrebounded badly in a recent game, took a calmer approach to Friday's lopsided numbers on the boards.
"The game plan was to get out and put pressure on them," he said. "In the first half, they got everything, everything. In the second half, we did a great job defensively, but we didn't score. To give up 58 points isn't devastating ... but offensively, you've got to be able to score, and we couldn't find any rhythm."
The Hawkeyes held Michigan to 13 of 48 (27.1 percent) shooting from the floor, including 4 of 22 after the intermission.
"Our first key was defense," Bluder said. "In the second half, we couldn't find a basket that first eight minutes. Thankfully, our defense and rebounding were maintaining it."
"Our maturity is definitely coming through," Smith said. "Defense has been our focal point all season. We were focused on boxing out and switching on screens. We were just intent on defense."
-Iowa's bench out-scored the Wolverines, 24-10 today.
-Iowa improves to 4-0 as a No. 2 seed at the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes have only been a No. 2 seed once before, going 3-0 and winning the 2001 tournament at Grand Rapids, MI.
-Iowa committed only two personal fouls during the first half and held Michigan to zero free-throw attempts.
-Michigan's scored 16 of its 19 first-half points in the paint. Both Iowa and Michigan finished with 20 paint points.
-Iowa out-scored Michigan 17-1 in second chance points.
-Smith's nine points raised her career total to 997 career points. She would be the third Hawkeye to reach the 1,000-point plateau this season (Solverson, Skouby).
-Megan Skouby has reached double figure points in four of the last six games. Iowa limited Michigan to only 13 field goals, an Iowa-opponent season-low (15 by Dartmouth and Detroit).
-Michigan entered today as the leader in 3-pointers made per game and the Hawkeyes held them to only three on 15 attempts (.200). Iowa finished 6-15 (.400) from long distance. The Black and Gold have shot 40 percent or better in 15 games this season.
Iowa and Purdue split a pair of regular season meetings, with each winning on its home court.