I doesn’t seem like it was 20 years ago last Saturday that Chris Street died in an auto accident.
The Hawkeyes honored Chris by beating Wisconsin, the only undefeated team left in the Big Ten, 70-66, before a jam-packed, very loud and excited crowd.
I remember that night of the accident 20 years ago as I was sitting at home watching TV around 7:30 p.m.
I got a call from Deanna Slade, who was a neighbor of mine.
Deanna asked me, “Is there a football player named Chris Street?”
I said, “No, he plays basketball.”
She then told me something that still today makes my heart and stomach ache.
“Brandon (her husband) called me and said they brought Chris Street into Mercy Hospital in a body bag.”
I didn’t know what to say.
I got off the phone and called around, but there was no Internet and no texting back in 1993, so I had to wait until it was scrolled at the bottom of my TV set, about an hour later, “Chris Street, Iowa Hawkeye basketball player, was killed in an auto accident.”
I couldn’t move. I had never met Chris but watched him play for three years and felt like I knew him.
What was Chris like as a player?
All you have to do is watch Aaron White, a sophomore on this year’s team, to get an idea.
Chris and Aaron aren’t the greatest athletes but they will outwork you before, during and after practice.
Both are about 6-8, both can run the floor, shoot free throws and hit the boards.
Talk about shooting free throws. Chris holds the Iowa record making 34 in a row. His last made free throw on the streak came against Duke, then came the car wreck and no more Chris.
Last Saturday, Chris would have been proud of the Hawkeyes as they hit five straight free throws with 27 seconds left to give Iowa its second straight victory in the Big Ten beating the Badgers. Iowa never trailed.
How about Aaron White putting up Chris Street numbers.
Aaron had 17 points, seven rebounds and two steals to lead the Hawks.
Chris averaged 14 points and 9.5 boards in his last season as a Hawkeye.
All 10 Hawks who played scored and I thought both freshmen guards really stepped up.
Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons only had one turnover between them. Mike scored 11, Anthony 10 including 4-4 from the free throw line.
“Those two kids are just tough kids,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “They’re smart, they execute, they know what’s needed and they are not afraid to make a play when the game is in the balance. Those two guys are the real deal.”
Iowa only turned the ball over seven times, Wisconsin 12, and that gave the Hawks a 12-8 advantage on points off turnovers.
Fran McCaffery brought an up-tempo offense to the Hawkeyes, but defense has won the last two games.
The Hawkeyes’ road trip to Michigan State came up short and the Spartans won, 65-54.
You want to talk about a physical game, there were three technicals… one on Iowa and two on Michigan State.
A couple of other stats stick out as the Spartans were called for only 10 fouls, four in the second half.
Sometimes it’s nice for the refs to let them play but there was some big-time contact in the paint.
The Hawkeyes were called for 14 fouls and Samantha Logic had four.
“I can’t believe there’s only 10 fouls whistled against them and 14 against us for this game,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder.
The other stats that stick out are the Hawks hitting only 2-14 (14 percent) from the 3-point line while the Spartans were 5-19. Jaime Printy had an off night, shooting 1-8 from behind the arc.
Three point shooting is a big part of Iowa’s offense and the Hawks are shooting 33 percent for the season.
Also, State had six more boards and had a 12-2 advantage on fast break points.
Morgan Johnson had a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards. Jaime and Bethany Doolittle followed with 11 and 10 points.
I had a good feeling Iowa would bounce back against Purdue last Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
I had no idea they would jump out to a 41-18 halftime lead and then hold on for a 62-46 win.
Maybe there was a little Chris Street magic left in Carver.
When Jaime Printy, Theairra Taylor and Melissa Dixon are hitting 3-pointers the Hawkeyes’ offense is very tough to stop.
Jaime was 3-5 from behind the arc, Theairra 3-3 and Melissa 3-6.
Jaime’s last 3-pointer moved her into second place on Iowa’s career list. She passed Kamille Wahlin, who had 231. Only Lindsey Meder has more (261). That’s also the most 3-pointers ever made in the Big Ten.
The Boilermakers came into Carver undefeated in the Big Ten (just like the Badgers were in Saturday night’s men‘s game).
They were also ranked 12th in the nation.
As good as Iowa’s offense, was their defense was better.
Purdue started the game hitting 1-16 from the floor. Some of those were open shots but a lot were the Hawks playing in-your-face defense.
The Boilermakers shot only 24 percent in the first half, 32 percent for the game.
Kayla Timmerman had 16 good minutes off the bench, scoring 4 points with two rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal.
“We need Kayla when Morgan needs a breather,” said Lisa Bluder. “It’s wonderful for her to come out and have a good game. I think that’s going to do a lot for her confidence.”
That’s the fifth time the Hawkeyes have beaten a ranked foe this year. That should help in the RPI rating.
Finally, a big congratulations goes out to head coach Lisa Bluder for her 600th victory. She is only the 25th coach at a Division I school to reach that milestone.