Jan. 24, 2010
IOWA CITY, Iowa --If you have ever had the feeling someone was following you, ready to imitate your every move, you know how Northwestern felt Sunday afternoon at Iowa. The Wildcats fought hard, and Amy Jaeschke's (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) season-best 30-point performance single-handedly kept NU within striking distance but Iowa proved to make the final move, prevailing 78-69, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Both teams were evenly matched from the tip, mirroring each other's every score, turnover and blocked shot. Neither team held more than a six-point lead in the first half, and there were 13 lead changes and seven ties in the opening stanza.
Northwestern knocked down five of its first six shots, spearheaded by a three-point campaign that provided nine of its first 13 points. The Wildcats shot nearly 70 percent through the first 12 minutes of the first frame, including a 4-of-4 effort from three-point land. Iowa was equal to the task as well, shooting north of 62 percent during that span.
Unlike the first 12 minutes of the contest, both teams combined to only muster one point over the next four minutes until Iowa ran off five-straight points to build a six-point advantage at the 3:14 mark. Northwestern finished the half on an 8-0 run to give itself a two-point half-time advantage, 38-36.
The tight play of the first half proved to be an accurate forecaster for the remainder of the affair, as neither team would let the other out of its sight to take more than a six-point lead until a reverse lay-in by Jaeschke extended NU's lead to eight, 50-42. Iowa quickly responded with a triple, cutting the difference once again to under six.
The back-and-forth banter continued until Iowa pulled ahead, 61-56, with 8:12 remaining, thanks to a three-pointer by Kelly Krei. The Hawkeyes scored five more points to extend their lead to 10, 66-56. Beth Marshall (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) drained a triple and Jaeschke connected on two free-throws to slash the difference in half with 6:30 remaining.
Northwestern kept battling, cutting the lead to as little as five, but could not make up the difference down the stretch.
Jaeschke added a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and three rejections. She is now NU's all-time leading blocker.
The Wildcats are next in action on Thursday, Jan. 28 when they welcome Michigan State to Welsh-Ryan Arena for a 7 p.m. showdown.