Iowa beat Northwestern today 86-79 today at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, IL. The Hawkeyes led by as many as 16 points in the second half. Iowa has now won 12 of its last 14 games, while Northwestern has lost 12 of its last 14. The Hawkeyes have won six road games, five of which have come in the Big Ten.
Today's victory, coupled with Michigan State beating Purdue, places the Hawkeyes in a three-way tie with Michigan State and Purdue for second in the final Big Ten standings. Iowa has now recorded a second-place Big Ten finish for the second time under Bluder and five times overall.
Although Iowa tied for second place in the standings, the Hawkeyes lose the tiebreakers and will be the No. 4 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, IN. The Hawkeyes will meet fifth-seeded Minnesota (19-10, 11-7) Friday at approximately 7:15 p.m. (CST).
Iowa finishes the regular season on a six-game winning streak and finishes the 2008-09 regular season with the identical record as it did a year ago (20-9, 13-5). Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder has now guided the Iowa Hawkeyes to four 20-win seasons during her nine-year tenure.
With Iowa up only four points (78-74), Megan Skouby had a huge basket and was fouled on the play at with 1:02 left. The senior also drained the free throw to extend Iowa's advantage to 81-74. The Hawkeyes put the game away down the stretch making their free throws, ultimately prevailing 86-79.
Wendy Ausdemore went coast-to-coast after a steal and put the Hawkeyes up 45-33 with a fast break lay-up at the 17:45 mark of the second half. The lay-up gave the Iowa senior trio of Megan Skouby, Wendy Ausdemore and Kristi Smith 4,110 career points to tie the Big Ten scoring record for three players from the same class. A couple minutes later, Skouby drained a 17-foot jumper from the top of the key to break the record at the 15:12 mark.
Iowa vs. Northwestern, won 15 straight, including seven consecutive at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Iowa is 41-12 all-time against the Wildcats, including boasting a 19-5 advantage in contests played in Evanston.
All five Hawkeye starters were in double figures for the Black and Gold today: Kamille Wahlin, Megan Skouby, Kristi Smith and Wendy Ausdemore. Wahlin netted 13 of her 16 points in the second half. She also finished with a game-high six assists. Skouby and Smith each scored 19 points each. Alexander tallied 13 points and eight rebounds, while Ausdemore contributed 11 points and tied a career high with five steals. Ausdemore also had five steals against Wisconsin earlier this season.
Kachine Alexander attempted five free throws today, raising her season total to 158. She is now only 11 attempts from tying Amy Herrig's school single-game record of 169 set during the 1998-99 campaign.
Iowa led 66-50 midway through the second stanza, but Northwestern rallied scoring the next points to cut the deficit to eighth points (66-58) with 7:20 left.
Both teams shot the ball extremely well from the free throw line and the field. Iowa shot 21-25 (.840) from the charity stripe and 50 percent (30-60) from the field. The Wildcats shot 89.5 percent (17-19) from the foul line and 55.8 percent (29-52) from the floor. Iowa's Kristi Smith was 10-11 (.909) from the free throw line.
Iowa turned 13 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points. Iowa also forced 14 Wildcat turnovers and converted the miscues into 16 points.
Northwestern also had five players score double figures today. Freshman Brittany Orban netted a team-high 18 points off the bench.
Both teams scored 50 points in the second half.
The 79 points were a season high for Northwestern.
Iowa closed the half on an 8-0 to take a seven-point (36-29) halftime advantage. The Hawkeyes have led at the half 18 times this season (17-1). Both teams shot 45 percent from the field the first 20 minutes.
Today was Northwestern's "Senior Day". The Wildcats recognized their four seniors before the game.
Iowa Post-game Quotes
Head Coach Lisa Bluder
"Getting our 20th win feels good. We're just excited to get back home and get ready for the Big Ten Tournament. We played a much improved Northwestern team. I think Northwestern is the most improved team in the Big Ten this season."
"We did a great job valuing the basketball today. The last two games we have done an excellent job limiting our turnovers. We also took advantage of our offensive rebounds today, scoring 21 second-chance points."
On the three seniors breaking the record
"That just shows the quality of our three players in what they have done not just this season but overt their entire careers. We're going to miss them after this year!"
Senior Megan Skouby
On setting the record
"It's a great accolade four us to achieve. All three of us have contributed to our team's success. It's a great accomplishment for us and great for Iowa basketball. It's been awesome playing with Wendy and Kristi."
Senior Kristi Smith
On placing second
"It's an awesome feeling! We went out and proved everyone wrong tying for second (Iowa was picked to finish fourth by the coaches and fifth by the media). We're playing as a team out here and having fun."