The Iowa women’s basketball team showed Thursday how far it has matured in the year since it last faced Iowa State.
The 19th-ranked Hawkeyes’ defense smothered No. 16 Iowa State 62-40 while holding the Cyclones to four field goals in the second half before a crowd of 6,364 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
A year ago, the Hawkeyes were a team dominated by freshmen and sophomores and they didn’t have all-conference guard Kachine Alexander when they were thumped 85-66 at Iowa State.
In the rematch, Iowa (9-1) controlled much of the game as it held the Cyclones (6-2) to a season-low in points.
“Not to play on the revenge factor, but it was definitely a motivating factor,” sophomore center Morgan Johnson said of last season’s loss in Ames. “We have grown so much in maturity and in ball skills and in life. We are a team that clicks together really well. We’re just a year older and a year better.”
The 41st meeting between the two programs was the first in which both were ranked. It was Iowa State’s fewest points in the series since a 64-39 loss to the Hawkeyes on Dec. 2, 2002.
“Iowa played a great game defensively,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “They took us out of a lot of what we wanted to do.”
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said it was her team’s best defensive game.
“It’s a signature win for us in the fact that it’s the (16th)-ranked team in the country,” she said. “Our intensity was there. I think we denied really well and we disrupted their sets.”
Johnson led Iowa with 16 points and 10 rebounds while junior forward Kelly Krei added 15 points and eight rebounds. They helped the Hawkeyes finish with a 40-27 rebounding bulge.
For Krei, it eased the sting of last year’s loss, in which Iowa trailed by 31 points.
“Just remembering what it felt like,” she said, “that bus ride back home was a long ride from Ames last year, it’s just nice to come back and get a win this year.”
Iowa State received 16 points from point guard Lauren Mansfield and eight from forward Kelsey Bolte, but no one else had more than five points.
“We couldn’t really score in the second half,” Bolte said. “They really shut us down.”
Bolte came in averaging 17.3 points per game, but was shadowed by Alexander, who concentrated on denying Bolte the ball.
“Her shot is so quick. You give her any room and it’s going up,” Alexander said. “They take her off all sorts of screens. I probably hit six screens in one play.”
Leading 26-21 at halftime, Iowa took command with a 16-2 spurt that gave the Hawkeyes a 45-27 lead following a Kelsey Cermak basket with 9:46 to play. The run was sparked by three straight steals and scores — two by Alexander and one by Jaime Printy — and then Johnson tallied three straight baskets.
The Hawkeyes held Iowa State to one basket in 10 attempts during the first 121/2 minutes of the half.
“They were in the lane and everyone was on a player,” Mansfield said. “It was hard to get through the plays. I kind of felt like I didn’t know what to do.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball