Iowa women beat Texas State for season opening win - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa women beat Texas State for season opening win

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- If defense wins championships, the University of Iowa women's basketball team may very well have a great season ahead of it. The Hawkeyes provided stout defense and crisp offense and were able to open their regular season with a win against Texas State, 87-45, this afternoon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa controlled both aspects of the game with quick defensive rotations in zone sets, and magnetic-like man-to-man defense, holding Texas St to 23.4-percent shooting, and forcing the Bobcats into 19 turnovers. Iowa was equally crisp on the offensive side of the ball, shooting a productive 55.9-percent from the floor during the victory.

"I thought this was a really good start to our season," said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. "This was a really nice team win. I thought everybody did a really good job of contributing. It's nice to get the first one down, and now the season is underway."

The Hawkeyes were able to set the tone from the very beginning as Megan Skouby got a hand up and blocked the Bobcats' first shot of the game.

"There's nothing like the season opener," said Kachine Alexander. "It's like the best game ever. Everybody's hyped, everybody's ready to go, and to see all my other teammates making shots, it was just very exciting."

Kristi Smith fed JoAnn Hamlin early off a nice pick and roll to put the Hawkeyes up 4-0. Proving the all-around player that she is, Smith knocked down a pair of three's the next few trips down the floor to stretch Iowa's lead to 12-5. Wanting to show that guards aren't the only ones who shoot well from long range, Skouby took a pass from Smith and fired up a trey with no hesitation and watched it fall through the net for an 11-point Hawkeye lead five minutes into the game.

The Hawkeyes were eager for the season to start according to Bluder.

"I think we were excited to begin the season, and we talked about finishing, and putting the game away right away in the second half," she said. "I think we did both of those things pretty well"

A scary moment occurred halfway through the first half when Victoria Davis of Texas State hit the hardwood hard and was slow to get up. She had to be helped off the court by trainers and limped into the locker room in what looked like an ankle injury. Davis was able shake it off and return to action in the second half.

Hamlin and Smith picked the Hawkeyes up where they left off. Smith found Hamlin underneath for a basket and the foul. Although the free throw was missed, Iowa crashed the boards and got the ball back out to Smith for three-point attempt. Although the attempt was missed, Hamlin was right there with the tip-in for Iowa.

Hamlin talked about Iowa's success underneath saying, "We set some really good screens, that helped a lot, we had a couple good passes, and if you get a good pass and you're in the paint, most likely you're going to finish."

Reserve point guard Kamille Wahlin hooked up with fellow freshman Hannah Draxten for a three-pointer in the corner late in the half, and Skouby hit a layup right before the buzzer to send the Hawkeyes into the locker room with a comfortable 40-21 lead, all part of a 21-8 run to close the first half.

Iowa was able to hold the Bobcats to a meager 19.4-percent from the field in the first half, and forced them into eight turnovers, all while shooting a nice 50-percent from the field, and 75-percent from the line.

The second half opened with Texas State trying to beat Iowa at its own game with tough defense -- only failing miserably to do so. Texas State applied pressure and went with a full court trap. Smith was able to dribble out of it and got the ball go Alexander across the half-court line, who fed Skouby down low for an easy basket.

The Bobcats again went with their press later in the second half, and the result was the same, with the Iowa beating the press and finding Skouby down low for an easy basket. It seemed every time Texas State wanted to test the Hawkeyes with the press, Iowa was able to answer with easy baskets at the other end.

Iowa again showed various talents of the team with Wendy Ausdemore grabbing a rebound and leading the fast break for the Hawks. She lobbed a pass across the court for Smith who put up a three in transition. The shot clanked off the rim, but Ausdemore was right there for the board and put the ball in for two. Freshman guard Kelly Krei came off the bench and contributed very well with seven points and a monster swat coming off a Texas State three-point attempt late in the second half. The depth of Iowa was evident by the 27 points coming off the bench.

Iowa dominated down low outscoring Texas State 44-2 in the paint and holding a 50-32 edge in rebounding. Iowa also blocked seven shots to the Bobcats' one. Skouby led all scorers with 18 points, and three Iowa players tied for the lead with six rebounds, and four assists. Four different Iowa players scored in double figures in the rout including Skouby, Hamlin, Smith, and Alexander who had a full stat sheet with 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a game-high three blocks.

"My hand just happened to be there," said Alexander, referring to her three blocks. "I was happy with my overall game. Defensively I think I did a good job."

Iowa travels to Lawrence, Kan., on Nov. 18 to take on the Kansas Jayhawks. The game will be somewhat of a homecoming for Hamlin, who is originally from Kansas and was recruited by the Jayhawks coming out of high school. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.

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