8:00 PM ET, December 20, 2010
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Coach Lisa Bluder's 200th win at Iowa was much tougher than nearly everyone expected.So are this year's Hawkeyes.Kachine Alexander scored a season-high 26 points and Iowa (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) snuck past host Drake 75-71 on Monday night to give Bulder her milestone win.Kamille Wahlin and Jaime Printy each added 13 for Iowa (11-1), which blew an 11-point lead but recovered for its ninth straight win over the Bulldogs.Drake's Angela Christianson grabbed a loose ball and converted a 3-point play to tie the game at 71 with 1:10 left. But Kamille Wahlin calmly answered with a layup, and Kristin Turk front-rimmed a 3 with seven seconds left that would have brought the Bulldogs even.According to Alexander, it was the kind of victory the Hawkeyes might not have finished out a year ago when they finished third in the Big Ten."We're mentally tougher. We're stronger. Our chemistry is even tigher than it was last year," Alexander said.The Bulldogs had nine steals in the first half and took a surprising 39-33 lead into the break before falling just short late.Rachel Hackbarth had a season-high 27 points for Drake (5-5), which fell to 0-2 against ranked teams. The Bulldogs lost 64-46 at Iowa State (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) on Nov. 15."I don't want our team to be satisfied with losing a game, but we did everything we needed to do to put ourselves in position to get the game into overtime," Drake coach Amy Stephens said.The Hawkeyes reached their highest ranking in Bluder's 11 seasons earlier Monday -- and then nearly blew it against the pesky Bulldogs.After a fast start, the Hawkeyes got sloppy and fell behind by as much as seven late in the first half. But Iowa cleaned up its play on both ends of the floor after the break, taking their first double-digit lead, 61-50 with 9:36 left, on a pair of Alexander layups.Drake wouldn't go away though.Turk's three-point play and Hackbarth's jumper helped pulled the Bulldogs within 68-66. They were poised for a tying score when Alexander jumped a passing lane and took the steal the distance to make it 70-66 Iowa with 3:04 to go.Turk finished with 17 points on 8-of-23 shooting and Drake was outrebounded 42-30."Drake played extremely well. They played hard. They played focused. They played with great emotion," Bluder said. "There were so many times where we'd get a double-digit lead and just can't keep them away."Iowa hit six of its first eight shots, but Drake quickly settled down and tightened up defensively. Hackbarth hit two straight inside buckets to put the Bulldogs ahead 21-19 midway through the first half.Iowa was careless with the ball in the first half and it cost them, as Drake scored 15 points off of 12 takeaways.The Hawkeyes needed less than three minutes to get the lead back, though, as Morgan Johnson's layup put them ahead 42-41. Iowa slowly pushed its edge to 53-46 on Alexander's tough scoop in the paint with just over 12 minutes left.Though they didn't always look like it Monday night's win, Bluder just might have the best squad of her 11-year tenure with the Hawkeyes.The Hawkeyes are about as balanced as Bluder could ask for. Wahlin and Printy can each score and distribute, and both entered Monday's game shooting at least 90 percent from the free-throw line.Alexander is one of the best overall players in the country and had one of her best games of the year Monday night. Kelly Krei is a solid power forward, and Johnson has blossomed into a star at center as a sophomore.Iowa's only loss came at North Carolina (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) 79-67 earlier this month, and the Hawkeyes pounded Iowa State 62-40 on Dec. 9Ironically, Bluder came to Iowa from Drake, where she went 187-106 from 1990 to 2000. One fan even yelled "We miss you!" when Bluder was introduced."We're a long ways from peaking. That's exciting, though," Bluder said. "We're a pretty good team right now, but we can become a really good team."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||26-55 (.473)||32-71 (.451)|
|3P Made-Attempted||6-17 (.353)||2-16 (.125)|
|FT Made-Attempted||17-22 (.773)||5-8 (.625)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||12 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|