March 7, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Iowa's defense and rebounding were more impressive than its offense.
Johanna Solverson and Megan Skouby scored 10 points each and Iowa beat Michigan 58-37 Friday in the lowest-scoring game in Big Ten women's tournament history.
"We came in prepared for this game," said Solverson, who also had nine rebounds. "We knew rebounding is a huge factor. We just crashed the boards well today. Getting second-chance points is great."
Iowa (21-9), the No. 2 seed, will play either No. 3 Purdue or No. 6 Indiana in the semifinals Saturday. The Hawkeyes, knocked out of last year's tournament by Indiana in the first round, split two regular-season games with Purdue and beat the Hoosiers in their only meeting this year.
"We wanted to dominate the boards offensively and defensively," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "We can be a good rebounding team, so we wanted to use our strength and make it even better."
The 95 points by both teams broke the previous tournament record low 96 set in Indiana's 55-41 win over Purdue in the 2002 semifinals and in Indiana's 57-39 first-round win over Wisconsin in 2004. The 37 points by Michigan broke the previous low of 39 by Northwestern in a quarterfinal loss to Michigan in 2000 and by Wisconsin in a first-round loss to Indiana in 2004.
"The game plan was to get out and put pressure on them," first-year Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. "In the first half, they got everything, everything.
"In the second half, we did a great job defensively, but we didn't score. To give up 58 points isn't devastating ... but offensively, you've got to be able to score, and we couldn't find any rhythm."
Iowa outrebounded the Wolverines 46-24 and held Michigan (17-13) to 27 percent shooting, its second-worst performance all season. Iowa took a 30-19 lead at the half and survived a slow start in the second period, when it made just one of its first eight shots and had four turnovers in the first six minutes.
"Our first key was defense," said Bluder, the Big Ten coach of the year. "In the second half, we couldn't find a basket that first eight minutes. Thankfully, our defense and rebounding were maintaining it."
Kristi Smith and Stacy Schlapkohl added nine points each for the Hawkeyes. Michigan was led by Carly Benson with eight points and Jessica Minnfield with seven.
"Our maturity is definitely coming through," Smith said. "Defense has been our focal point all season.
"We were focused on boxing out and switching on screens," she said. "We were just intent on defense."
Iowa was the regular-season co-champion this year with Ohio State but got the No. 2 seed because of its two losses to the Buckeyes. Michigan, the No. 7 seed, reached the quarterfinals with a 65-54 win over Penn State on Thursday, the first time the Wolverines survived the opening round since 2004.
The Hawkeyes gave up the first basket to Michigan's Krista Phillips but took control with a 10-0 run over the next 4 minutes. Smith had two 3-pointers in that stretch, including one for a 10-2 lead. Iowa increased the lead to 19-7 on a 3-pointer by Emmert midway through the first half and took its biggest lead of the half at 13 points twice late in the period.
The final score, on a 3-pointer by Abby Emmert with 28 seconds left, marked the biggest lead of the game.