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Iowa claws back on road to keep win streak alive

BY BEN WOLFSON | FEBRUARY 17, 2012 6:30 AM

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Senior guard Kamille Wahlin dribbled the ball down the court and waited for a screen from junior center Morgan Johnson.

It came, but the Michigan defense clamped down. The senior dribbled out and reset the offense.

A second screen came — and this time, Wahlin didn't hesitate.

The Crookston, Minn., native sunk a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left to give the Hawkeyes their first lead of the game, 58-57.

"Coach just drew up a play for me to get to the rim or hit Kelly Krei for a 3," Wahlin said. "Michigan covered that well, so I came back out. Morgan gave me a good screen where I was able to basically get a wide-open look at the rim."

Michigan had time for another offensive possession, but Wolverines junior Sam Arnold came up short on her first shot. She somehow gathered the rebound and fired a desperation 3-pointer that missed everything.

The Hawkeyes had completed the improbable.

Down 14 points at halftime after shooting 7-of-32 — including 2-of-16 from long range — in the first half, Iowa (17-10, 9-5 Big Ten) used defense and rebounding to finally overcome the Wolverines (18-8, 7-6).

"These kids — the resiliency that we've had, they never stopped believing," associate head coach Jan Jensen said in a radio interview after the game. "We go into halftime down, but they were never negative."

Michigan had shut down Iowa's penetration during the first 20 minutes of play and were double-teaming Johnson in the paint, daring the Hawkeyes to shoot from distance.

Head coach Lisa Bluder decided to mix things up coming out in the second half; she moved Johnson around and out of the paint to try and get more drives to the hoop for her perimeter players.

The strategy worked as the Black and Gold shot 44 percent on field goals in the second stanza, including 11-of-14 from the free-throw line.

The Wolverines' offense was neutralized and held to just 6-of-29 shooting in the second 20 minutes of play.

Freshman guard Sam Logic had her fourth double-double of the season as she had 12 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds.

"That kid is a competitor and she will not back down from anyone," Jensen said. "She has that gift of knowing where the ball is going to come off [the rim]. When she doesn't have the angle, she has that brute strength and will."

Logic also pulled the team within two points of Michigan with only 1:16 left in the second half as Wahlin passed it to her in transition for a pull-up 3-pointer.

The score was 57-55 until Wahlin's game-winning trey. The Hawkeyes have now won six games in a row, three of which came on the road.

[In the first half] we were letting them do whatever they wanted with the basketball," Bluder said in a postgame radio interview. "When you're not shooting the ball well, you've got to own the boards and play better defense."

The defense clamped down on Michigan and the Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 48-30, including 20 offensive boards.

"It was fun; those are the moments you love as a coach," Bluder continued. "They kept their focus, they kept their intensity, and they kept believing in this basketball game.

"When you're down 14 on the road especially against a very good team like Michigan, that's a very difficult thing to do."

Follow DI women's basketball reporter Ben Wolfson on Twitter.


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