CANCUN, Mexico – Iowa controlled the boards and scoring most of the afternoon as the Hawkeyes (4-0) defeated the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (4-1), 60-54, at the 2007 Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico on Thursday afternoon.
A fast-paced first half featured four ties and saw Iowa jump out on top 3-1 early in the period. They extended that lead out to five before MState got a three-point basket from sophomore Alexis Rack to tie the game at 10 with 13:49 left in the period. After trading baskets and the game’s fourth tie, Iowa turned out a 5-0 run to jump out by five with less than 10 minutes remaining. Junior guard Robin Porter’s jumper at 5:14 cut the Hawkeye lead to one, but it was as close as the Lady Bulldogs could get as Iowa led by four, 25-21 at the intermission.
Iowa shot a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe in the first half, while the Lady Bulldogs were just 2-of-7. The Hawkeyes also controlled the rebounds in the period, bringing down 20 compared to MSU’s six.
In the second half, Iowa came out and extended their lead to eight on a pair of baskets from Ausdemore and Kristi Smith. State responded with shots from senior forward Imesia Jackson and sophomore forward Tysheka Grimes, but the Hawkeyes controlled the period early and led by 12, their largest lead of the game, with 11:34 remaining in the game.
MSU fought hard to cut into the Hawkeye lead. Slowly, they chipped away on baskets from Grimes and Jackson. With a free-throw shot at 8:26 left, the Lady Bulldogs had rallied to within one. State stayed within that margin as late as 6:20 after a Porter three-point shot, but the Hawkeyes bounced back out to lead by nine with 1:46 left in the game. State got back within four, but it was not enough as Iowa took the six-point, 60-54 win.
Iowa continued their dominance of the boards, out-rebounding MState 39-21 on the afternoon. A total of 21 Hawkeye points came off second-chance shots.
Wendy Ausdemore led the way for Iowa, shooting 5-for-8 from behind the arc. Ausdemore tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds on the afternoon, while Kristi Smith also netted 17. Jenee Graham led all rebounders with 16 boards on the afternoon.
Jackson and Grimes scored 10 each for MSU and Rack and junior guard Marneshia Richard added nine in the loss.
State returns to action tomorrow in the event, facing No. 10 Oklahoma at 1 p.m. CT.
RICHARD SCORES 500TH CAREER POINT
With her first basket against Iowa, Marneshia Richard scored her 500th career point. She and sophomore guard/forward Robin Porter are the only two current Lady Bulldogs to have reached the milestone. Senior forward Imesia Jackson (444) and sophomore guard Alexis Rack (393) are on-pace to reach the mark soon.