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Freebies keep Iowa women unbeaten

November 12, 2012
By TIMES-REPUBLICAN STAFF ( , Times-Republican

IOWA CITY - The homestand will continue for the Iowa women's basketball team.

The Hawkeyes shot and made 20 free throws more than Illinois State, leading by as many as 22 points in the second half of an eventual 74-64 victory in Sunday's second-round pairing of the Preseason WNIT.

Iowa (2-0) will host Middle Tennessee State (2-0) in Wednesday's semifinals at 7 p.m. back inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Blue Raiders got a career-high 30 points from guard Icelyn Elie to advance past Memphis, 82-68, in their quarterfinal.

"Any time you play at your home court it's an advantage," said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder. "We want to get as comfortable as possible playing on our home court and not having to travel. It's fun that we get to play on our home court and share this with our fans."

Sunday's game had a slow-down pace, however, as 27 Illinois State fouls led to 41 free-throw attempts for the Hawkeyes. Iowa shot 32-of-41 from the line, while the Redbirds went 12-of-21 at the stripe.

Iowa senior center Morgan Johnson shot 12-of-13 at the line on her way to a team-leading 24 points.

"We knew coming in they were pretty physical," Johnson said. "(We) just had to work on holding our ground and then working on some more cross-screens and different ways to get open.

"When a team is as aggressive as they are, you take that and you use that to your advantage."

Theairra Taylor recorded her first career double-double with 10 points to go with team highs of 11 rebounds and five assists. Johnson added nine boards and five blocked shots.

"It was a game where there were so many fouls called that I don't think any team could get in the thick of things, so it became a free-throw shooting contest, and we're a good free-throw shooting team," said Bluder.

Senior all-conference guard Jaime Printy was limited to one point in 15 minutes of court time as her recovery from knee and hamstring injuries continues.

Illinois State was led by guard Jamie Russell, who set or matched career highs with her 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight steals. Last year's Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year, who sat out a season after transferring from Wisconsin, shot 12-of-28 from the field and 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in playing a game-high 37 minutes.

North Carolina hosts Georgetown in the other Preseason WNIT semifinal game at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The tournament championship will be played on Nov. 18 and televised by CBS Sports Network.



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