IOWA CITY– By winning their final two games of the regular season last week, the Hawkeyes assured themselves of being the host team for the NCAA tournament March 22-24 at Carver.
The Hawkeyes finished with the same record they had last year, 20-9 (13-5 in the Big Ten). They were co-Big Ten Champs last season, but this year they tied for second place with Purdue and Michigan State.
It was Senior Night for the Hawkeye women last Thursday.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said at her press conference if things work out all five seniors, including Nicole VanderPol, would be on the court one last time.
“They’ve done such a great job over the last four years in so many ways,” the coach said of her seniors. “They represent this university in the manner that we want it represented. I’m so proud of them.”
The Hawks needed to have a big lead and they did just that in the 69-56 win.
I was a little surprised when all five (Kristi Smith, Wendy Ausdemore, Megan Skouby, Lindsey Nyenhuis and Nicole) came in with a little more than three minutes left, but what a great moment when Nicole, who has only played in two games this year, came down with a rebound.
I have no doubt that if Nicole could have been healthy all year, Iowa would have at least one or two more wins.
Especially when Joann Hamlin went down before the game at Michigan January 26.
The Hawks then lost two games to Michigan State and Minnesota. Both are physical teams that Nicole would have matched up well with.
It would have been great to see Lindsey hit one of the two 3-pointers she tried on Senior Night but knowing Lindsey, I’m sure she was just happy to get the win.
In Iowa’s first game against Illinois, a 72-62 win, Jenna Smith scored 18 points, had 18 boards and the Fighting Illini outrebounded the Hawks 46-29.
Last week at Carver, Jenna had 20 points, eight boards and Iowa won the rebound battle 38-29.
Kachine Alexander posted her seventh double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while handing out five assists.
Kamille Wahlin and Wendy Ausdemore dropped in 13 and 10 points respectively.
Another huge stat was Iowa had 18 assists and only four turnovers. Combine that with Joann and Hannah Draxten each scoring 8 off the bench and you have Iowa’s 19th win.
The Hawkeyes ended the regular season with a win an 86-79 win over Northwestern, setting an all-time Big Ten record.
Kristi and Megan scored 19 points and Wendy had 11 which made the three seniors the highest scoring trio in Big Ten history.
“This just shows you the quality of these three players and what they’ve done for us in their careers,” said coach Bluder. “Not just this season but in their entire careers. It’s an amazing accomplishment. We’re going to miss them quit a bit but we’re hoping to have a lot of basketball to play.”
The Hawks will be the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and play Minnesota Friday at 7:30.
Iowa once again had balanced scoring with Kamille scoring 16 to go along with six assists. Kachine dropped in 13 and led the Hawks with eight boards.
Kach has shot 158 free throws for the year, 11 short of tying Amy Herrig’s single-season record of 160 set in the 1998-99 season.
Iowa is on a roll with six straight wins. They should be a tough match-up in the Big Ten tournament.
They have beaten everyone in the Big Ten except Purdue and Michigan State, so if they can keep Uncle Mo going…