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Boston College ousts Bluder’s Bunch

BY JORDAN GARRETSON | DECEMBER 03, 2009 7:30 AM

Brenna Norman/The Daily Iowan
Iowa’s Kamille Wahlin drives past Boston College’s Kelsey Reynolds during the second half of the Iowa women’s basketball team’s game against Boston College in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday.
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The Iowa women’s basketball team was outmatched in terms of size, experience, and number of players in its Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against Boston College on Wednesday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Those factors combined to give the Hawkeyes (5-3) their third loss of the season. The Golden Eagles (4-3) prevailed, 72-67, to earn their fourth-straight victory.

But if the Iowa players knew they were at a disadvantage in all those categories, they didn’t show it.
With injuries to senior, JoAnn Hamlin, sophomore Hannah Draxten, and junior Kachine Alexander, a Big-Ten-issued one-game suspension to freshman Gabby Machado for a flagrant foul against Columbia on Nov. 28 that was seen as fighting, and a indefinite suspension to sophomore Shante Jones for a violation of team rules, the Hawkeyes were left with seven players.

Two of those, sophomore Kelly Krei and freshman Morgan Johnson, stand more than 6 feet tall. Just one Hawkeye, junior Kelsey Cermak, who only played nine minutes, is an upperclassman.

Despite the daunting challenge and a 14-point deficit with 15:46 remaining in the game’s second half, Iowa trailed by three points with 37 seconds remaining. Tenth-year Hawkeye head coach Lisa Bluder couldn’t say enough about her team’s resiliency, which ultimately gave Iowa a shot at sending the game into overtime.

“I am so proud of my players for the type of effort that they continue to give us every single game,” Bluder said. “If you just looked at it on paper, we were totally out-matched. But I know my players will never give up. They will fight hard.”

Sophomore Kamille Wahlin, who scored a game-high 23 points, got a clean look from distance with seven seconds left, but her shot hit short off the rim.

Although she refused to use the miss as an excuse in the team’s postgame press conference, tired legs may have played a difference for the Crookston, Minn., native. Wahlin played all 40 minutes of Wednesday’s clash.

“When it comes to close games, as a player, you kind of are excited,” Wahlin said. “You’re not going to back down from those opportunities to take a last shot. At the end of games, you just have to remain confident and believe that the ball is going to go in.”

Following Wahlin’s miss, two free throws from Boston College’s Mickel Picco sealed the game for the Golden Eagles.

Iowa freshman center Johnson matched up with Boston College’s 6-6 junior center Carolyn Swords, a preseason All-ACC selection. Swords entered the game averaging 17.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest.

But Johnson finished Wednesday’s game with 16 points and six rebounds. Swords posted 11 points and five rebounds and fouled out of the game with 12:17 remaining — largely because of her freshman player’s ability to challenge her and draw fouls.

Despite being the only true opponent’s available for the Hawkeyes, Johnson embraced the challenge. She will do the same for the remainder of the season.

“We all like challenges,” Johnson said. “I just see it as an opportunity for us to get better for the future and not only that, but beat some teams while we’re at it.”

Iowa will open its Big Ten slate against Michigan (4-2) on Dec. 5 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.


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