First-half defensive effort lifts Iowa past Wisconsin

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March 31, 2014 | 11:39 am

IOWA CITY — This was a famine of historic proportions.

Iowa matched a school record by allowing Wisconsin to 11 first-half points and weathered a minor storm to defeat the Badgers, 59-44, in a Big Ten women’s basketball game before 5,025 Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We didn’t want them to get any good looks inside, and we had to keep the ball out of (Lin) Zastrow’s hands,” said Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder.

The Hawkeyes (20-7 overall, 8-6 Big Ten) won their third straight game and reached the 20-win mark for the fourth straight season – the fastest in Bluder’s 11 years.

They did so by holding Wisconsin (14-11, 9-4) to 5-of-26 shooting before intermission. Wisconsin forward Tara Steinbauer injured a knee 2 minutes into the game, and the Badgers were discombobulated for quite some time after that.

“They’re women. They’re emotional beings,” said Badgers Coach Lisa Stone. “That’s a scary thing, and it had a big effect for about 5 minutes.”

It seemed longer than that.

Jade Davis hit a 3-pointer to give the Badgers a 9-7 lead with 14:07 left in the first half. Wisconsin didn’t score again until the 5:35 mark, then didn’t score again after that until the second half.

Iowa took advantage of the drought to build a 24-11 advantage.

The 11 points matched the fewest in a half in Iowa history. The Hawkeyes allowed 11 in a half against Illinois (March 1, 1992) and West Virginia (Dec. 11, 1992).

“It was kind of weird seeing that score (at the half),” said Iowa’s Jaime Printy. “Both teams were playing some really good defense.”

Wisconsin regrouped and drew within four points on two occasions, the last at 44-40 with 8:25 left. Then the chilly shooting returned, and the Badgers managed just four points the rest of the way as Iowa pulled away.

Iowa’s Kamille Wahlin led all scorers with 19 points, hitting 8 of 14 shots from the floor (including 3 of 7 from long distance).

“The coaches told me to attack, and I felt there were spots in which I could pull up,” Wahlin said.

Morgan Johnson added 13 points, Printy scored 12. Kachine Alexander registered six points and 11 rebounds, staking the Hawkeyes to a 41-27 advantage on the boards.

“We crashed very well,” Bluder said.

Wisconsin crashed, but in a less flattering way. None of the Badgers had more than three points in the first half.

Alyssa Karel finished with 15. Morgan Paige, a freshman from Marion, played 8 minutes, shooting 0-for-4 from the floor.

The Hawkeyes are off until next Thursday, when they host Illinois in their home finale.

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