Hawkeyes Escape with 86-80 Win over MVSU

By Jeff Linder, Reporter

Iowa's Morgan Johnson (right) knocks the ball from Mississippi Valley State's Alia Frank into the hands of Kamille Wahlin of Iowa during the first half at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, December 22, 2011. (Cliff Jette/SourceMedia Group)

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By James Steward

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa Hawkeyes broke a record and averted an utter disaster.

Iowa hit a school-record 14 3-pointers and held on for an 86-80 women’s basketball escape against Mississippi Valley State in front of 4,235 Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It’s our second win in a row, but I’d feel better if we’d played better defense,” said Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder. “It worries me a lot; it’s why I don’t sleep at night — the way we’re playing defense.”

The Hawkeyes (8-5) built a 22-point lead, wasted most of it, then gritted out a win in their final non-conference game of the season. Iowa hosts Northwestern in its Big Ten opener Dec. 30.

“We didn’t come out very good in the second half,” said Jaime Printy, who led the Hawkeyes with 22 points — including 9-of-9 shooting from the free-throw line.

Mississippi Valley State (2-6) is winless against six Division-I opponents this season. But the Devilettes shot 59 percent from the field and gave themselves a chance to pull a gigantic upset.

MVSU moved within 82-80 on Lenise Stallings’ 3-pointer with 1:50 to play, then missed a go-ahead 3-point attempt and a potential game-tying shot in its next two possessions.

Kamille Wahlin made two free throws with 24 seconds left, then Printy hit two more to get the Hawkeyes out of the woods.

Such a white-knuckler seemed unfathomable in the first half. The Hawkeyes drained 10 of 18 3-pointers and built a 53-31 lead with 1:20 left before halftime. It was 53-38 at intermission.

Iowa finished with 14 treys, breaking the old school record of 13 set in last year’s NCAA tournament loss to Gonzaga.

The Hawkeyes cooled from long distance in the second half, making just 4 of 17.

“They were open and they were open threes that we put down,” Bluder said. ”Really, when I watch the film, I don’t think I’ll see that many bad 3-point shots that we shouldn’t be taking.

“I mean, this team decided to give that away for us, the 3-point shot, and we are good 3‑point shooters.”

Wahlin opened the half with a trey for a 56-38 Iowa lead, but MVSU scored the next 11 points and kept chipping away. Stallings’ 3-pointer got the Devilettes within 66-65 at the 10:00 mark.

“We never really let our defense become our offense tonight,” said Iowa’s Kelly Krei.

Iowa used a 14-3 run for an 80-68 lead, then MVSU countered with nine straight points to get back within three with 3:50 to go.

Each of Iowa’s starters was in double figures with 16 minutes left. Samantha Logic added 15 points, Wahlin and Krei scored 14, Morgan Johnson tallied 10.

Ka’Neisha Smith paced MVSU with 23 points (19 in the first half). Stallings added 18.

IOWA 86, MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE 80

At Iowa City

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE (80): Brittney Lakes 0-1 0-0 0, Arlivia Young 0-2 0-0 0, Ka’Nisha Smith 10-17 1-4 23, De’Kisha Fondon 4-4 0-0 11, Lenise Stallings 6-9 2-2 18, Olivia Kennedy 1-2 0-0 3, Khristina Clemmons 2-4 0-0 4, Davina Jefferson 2-3 0-0 5, A’Shanti Weathers 0-0 0-0 0, Alia Frank 8-14 0-4 16, Aspen Clemmons 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-56 3-10 80.

IOWA (86): Kelly Krei 5-9 0-0 14, Morgan Johnson 4-8 2-2 10, Kamille Wahlin 4-10 2-2 14, Samantha Logic 5-8 3-6 15, Jaime Printy 5-18 9-9 22, Kalli Hansen 0-3 0-0 0, Trisha Nesbitt 0-1 0-0 0, Melissa Dixon 1-6 4-4 7, Theairra Taylor 0-1 0-0 0, Kathryn Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0, Bethany Doolittle 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 25-65 22-25 86.

Halftime: Iowa 53, MVSU 38. 3-point goals: MVSU 11-19 (Smith 2-4, Fondon 3-3, Stallings 4-7, Kennedy 1-2, Jefferson 1-1, Frank 0-1), Iowa 14-35 (Krei 4-7, Wahlin 4-8, Logic 2-2, Printy 3-11, Hansen 0-1, Nesbitt 0-1, Dixon 1-5). Team fouls: MVSU 19, Iowa 12. Fouled out: Johnson. Rebounds: MVSU 31 (Smith 9), Iowa 38 (Krei 7). Assists: MVSU 16 (Smith 6), Iowa 19 (Wahlin 7). Steals: MVSU 12 (Frank 4), Iowa 8 (Logic, Printy 3). Turnovers: MVSU 24, Iowa 20.

Attendance: 4,235.
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