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February 10, 2008The red hot Iowa women's basketball team picked up their 8th straight win with a 73-65 win over Penn State. Iowa had lost their last four trips to the Bryce Jordan Center and held off a late rally by the Nittany Lions to move into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. With the win, Iowa moved to 17-7 and 10-3 in conference play. This win also marked the 500th victory in the coaching career of Lisa Bluder.
"It feels good to get career win No. 500, but I'm happier about winning eight in a row and staying on top of the Big Ten standings," said Coach Bluder after the victory.
Penn State closed to within one point twice late in the second half. Iowa responded on each of its next possession. Up 58-57, Johanna Solverson drained a 3-pointer from the baseline to expand Iowa's lead to four (61-57) with 3:40 left. Up 61-60, Kristi Smith scored six-straight points to give the Hawkeyes a seven-point cushion (63-70) with 1:29 left.
"I'm proud of how we kept our composure down the stretch. We made big baskets and played good defense," said Coach Bluder.
Smith led Iowa in scoring with 20 points, including 13 in the second half. She wasn't alone in the balanced attack as Jo Solverson chipped in with 16 points to go along with a team high seven rebounds and Wendy Ausdemore finished in double figures with 10.
The Hawkeyes shot over 50% from the field for the game and were nearly perfect from the foul line, connecting on 19-20 free throw attempts.
Iowa will enjoy first place alone for at least one night as Purdue will face Michigan State on Monday night. Then on Thursday night, the Hawkeyes will travel to Purdue as the top two teams in the conference square off in West Lafayette. Game time on Thursday night is at 6:05 central time.