Bludder's Bunch sets comeback record at Penn St. - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bludder's Bunch sets comeback record at Penn St.

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The margin grew to 20 points when Penn State opened the second half with two-pointer that pushed the Nittany Lions' lead to 43-23. However, the game was far from over for the visiting University of Iowa women's basketball team.

KamilleWahlin's two pointer with just less than three minutes to play gave Iowa a 56-54 lead and capped a slow and steady comeback that was the biggest ever in school history, topping an 18-point comeback by Bluder's Bunch over Indiana in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament.

Final score: Iowa 63, Penn State 57.

Iowa made it more interesting than they needed to in the final minutes, coming up empty on three straight possessions and two free throws. However, after Wendy Ausdemore grabbed another offensive rebound, the Hawkeyes called a timeout during which they called Ausdemore's number. The senior responded with a three-pointer that gave the Hawkeyes a 59-54 lead and, for all intents and purposes, the game.

"This is incredibly important for the Hawks' confidence level," the Hawkeye Radio Network's Shelly Till said shortly after watching Bluder's Bunch write UI women's basketball history.

"This is huge. It gives the coaching staff the opportunity to point to this - a 20-point comeback - in any difficult circumstance in the coming weeks. It's big. That's all I can say."

Kristi Smith led the Hawkeyes with 21 points. Ausdemore added 15 points and 12 rebounds - all in the games 20 minutes. Kachine Alexander had 11 points and 10 rebound and, like Alexander, all in the game's final 20 minutes. Wahlin chipped in seven points and Draxten five.

Tyra Grant scored a game-high 26 points for the home team.

"We talked to the kids at halftime about doing the little things and working hard and not giving them second and third chances. They responded," said an energized assistant coach Shannon Gage.

The Hawkeyes responded, indeed. The Nittany Lions scored 17 second-chance points in the first 20 minutes. They had zero second-chance points in the second 20.

Iowa cut the deficit to 10 with 14:05 to play when Wahlin sank a three-pointer to make the score 47-27. It was Wahlin's first bucket of the game. The Hawkeyes trimmed it to four at 49-45 with a pair of free throws from Smith and Alexander with just under the nine minutes to play.

The points from the charity stripe capped a 12-0 run by the Hawkeyes that was sparked by their defense: Iowa held the Nittany Lions scored for six minutes during with the home team coming up empty on 10 field goal tries.

Iowa took its first lead since the 18-minute mark of the first half, 52-51, when Ausdemore followed Draxten's miss with just more than five minutes to play.

The win pushed Iowa to 16-9 overall and 9-5 in Big Ten Conference action. It was the Hawkeyes' fourth win in five games and second in 10 days over the Nittany Lions. Penn State dropped to 9-15 overall and 4-10 in league play.

The Hawkeyes dug themselves a deep hole in the first 20 minutes, falling behind 41-23 at intermission after shooting just 31 percent from the field and being outrebounded by the home team by a 28-13 margin. Smith had 13 points for the Hawkeyes. On the other side of the ledger, Wahlin, Skouby and Alexander were held scoreless.

Iowa took its first lead since the 18-minute mark of the first half, 52-51, when Ausdemore followed Draxten's miss with just more than five minutes to play.

Iowa returns to action Thursday when the Hawkeyes entertain Wisconsin at 7 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Bluder's Bunch handed the Badgers a 73-63 defeat on Dec. 22 in Madison, Wis.

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