Bluder’s Bunch wins over Badgers

BY JON FRANK | FEBRUARY 17, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Hawkeyes (20-7, 7-6) unloaded their arsenal against Wisconsin (14-11, 9-4), ending Wednesday night’s contest at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on a 15-4 run.

Iowa saw its 24-11 halftime lead shrink to 4 points after the Badgers, led by their top scorer Alyssa Karel, pushed the tempo and put themselves back into the game. Trailing 44-40, Wisconsin’s Karel — who finished the night with 15 points — committed back-to-back fouls on a defensive series and was sent to the bench to avoid fouling out.

The Hawkeyes took advantage of Karel’s absence and built a solid lead they never relinquished.
A basket by junior Kamille Wahlin. A basket by senior Kachine Alexander. And a 3-pointer from sophomore Jaime Printy extended Iowa’s advantage to 11 points.

“They kept scoring,” Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. “You can’t trade baskets when you’re down at halftime.”

Stone’s squad kept the aggressive Iowa attack quiet in the first 20-minute period, but a persistent Hawkeye team fought through both zone and player-to-player defensive schemes to create shot opportunities.

“I think Wisconsin is really keen on Kachine and Jaime,” said Wahlin, who scored a team-high 19 points. “That kind of opened things up a little bit for me. They had put their really good defenders on those two players, and I tried to score but also create for them, like try to draw their defenders off on me.”

Before tip-off the contest had all the makings of a classic offense versus defense battle. The Hawkeyes entered third in the league in scoring, and the Badgers were surrendering only 57 points per game.

Although Iowa only scored two more than 57, 35 of those points came in the second half. Lisa Bluder’s squad has scored 136 points in its last three second-half performances, including a 63-point output in a comeback win over Northwestern Sunday.

The victory gives the Hawkeyes their third consecutive in conference play, and it is the longest winning streak the team has strung together against Big Ten competition this season.

“It feels really good,” Printy said. “We are on a winning streak, and we just want to keep it going and finish out the Big Ten play, hopefully, with these last two wins to take us into a tournament with a pretty good seed.”

The win over Wisconsin bumps Iowa into the No. 5 position in conference standings. The Hawkeyes — who finish their schedule facing Indiana and Illinois, which are 10th and 11th in the standings, respectively — will receive a first-round bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, provided they maintain the fifth seed or climb the ladder further.

Bluder’s Bunch has an eight-day layoff before returning to action in its home finale at Carver against the Fighting Illini on Feb. 24.

Said sophomore Morgan Johnson; “It’s a good opportunity to work on some things individually and as a team that we have not been clicking on.”

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