Let the Madness Begin

Laura Stratton (left) and Dani Kubik celebrate BYU's first round victory over Iowa. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

Denver, Colo. (March 18, 2006)--March Madness was alive and at its finest Saturday afternoon as No. 19 BYU (26-5) squeaked by a feisty Iowa team (17-12), 67-62, during the first round the 2006 NCAA Tournament at the Pepsi Center.

"This was a nice win for this team," head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We're very excited. I thought a lot of players helped us win tonight. Everyone came in and made a real nice effort. Iowa is a very good team, very well coached and physical. They're going to be very good in the future."

The Cougars' victory came at the hands of a well-rounded team effort and the determination of a little guard from Murray, Utah.

Her statistics may have been modest, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds, but Melinda Johnsen's defense was All-American material. Although Iowa's Crystal Smith posted 17 points, only a handful of those points came while Johnsen was defending her. Johnsen frustrated Smith, forcing her take difficult shots each time down the floor.

"She's a great player--I give her a lot of credit," Johnsen said. "Our game plan was to limit her. She's scored 30-or 40- points a couple times this season. My job was to make sure that didn't happen. I knew she'd get her points, but I couldn't let her have a breakaway game."

But Johnsen's defense didn't stop there. She hounded the whole Iowa team, getting her hands on numerous balls and often out jumping Hawkeye players for the rebound. Led behind the defensive prowess of Johnsen, BYU never let Iowa find their offensive flow.

"Defense was the big key to the game," Dani Kubik said. "We kept them way below their average. We took away their three-point option and contained their bigs."

In a half that had seven lead changes, both teams got off to a slow start in the opening period as BYU received a shot clock violation on its first possession and barely missed violations on its second and third attempts.

Iowa got on the board first, finally scoring a driving layup from Crystal Smith at the 16:39 mark.

BYU's Ambrosia Anderson immediately responded with a quick bucket of her own to even the score.

Both teams then traded baskets back and forth until Krista VandeVenter capitalized on a perfectly run pick-and-roll, followed by a driving mid-range jumper from Abby Emmert with 11:12 remaining in the half. The back-to-back buckets gave the Hawkeyes its biggest lead of the half, 12-9.

Lauren Riley's block with 8:22 remaining sparked an 8-2 Cougar run that included a layup from Mallary Gillespie, a three pointer from Jennie Keele and a free throw from Kubik. The run gave BYU a 23-16 lead.

Anderson nailed a three pointer with 39 seconds remaining in the period to put the Cougars up six, 30-24, but a BYU foul with just 10.3 seconds left allowed Megan Skouby to cut BYU's lead to five, 30-25, at the break.

During the opening minutes of the second half, it looked as though the Cougars were going to pull away when Kubik scored two quick buckets to extend the lead to nine, 34-25.

The Hawkeyes responded with an 8-3 run to close the lead to seven, 41-36, but BYU's Vanessa Hutson entered the lineup and nailed back-to-back three pointers to extend the lead to twelve, 48-36.

"The three-point shot obviously has a big impact," Johnsen said. "It can really turn around a game. Vanessa's three pointers off the bench were huge. When we have that kind of bench power, it's going to be tough to beat us."

Although the Cougars appeared to be in control, centers Kubik and Laruen Riley both fouled out at the 7:14 and 5:14 marks, respectively. Cassie King, a freshman who is averaging just 4.4 minutes per game, got the call. King came in and held her own during her first NCAA appearance.

The Cougars rallied around each other as Johnsen and Gillespie both stepped up and nailed three-point shots, giving BYU at 60-49 lead with 3:51 remaining.

Iowa never gave up, however, closing the lead to five, 65-50, with 1:08 remaining off a three-point play by Skouby. The Hawkeyes cut the lead to just three points a few seconds later when Smith was fouled on a drive, converting both free throws.

But it was the run was not enough as Smith missed a three-point attempt, and Anderson converted two double-bonus free throws to seal the victory.

BYU shot 43.1 percent from the field, including 43.5 percent from behind the arc. Anderson led all scorers with 20 points and nine rebounds. Kubik also added nine boards.

The Hawkeyes shot 43.4 percent from the floor, but made just one three-point shot. Three Iowa players scored in double figures as Skouby, Smith and VandeVenter scored 19, 17 and 10 points, respectively.

The Cougars take on Oklahoma on Monday in the second round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Game time will be at 5 or 7:30 p.m.

Official Basketball Box Score

Iowa vs BYU

3/18/06 1:30 p.m. at Denver, Colo. (Pepsi Center)

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VISITORS: Iowa 17-12

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

42 Reedy, Tiffany...... f 0-3 0-1 0-0 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 14

51 VandeVenter, Krista. f 5-11 0-0 0-0 1 7 8 4 10 1 2 0 0 37

44 Skouby, Megan....... c 6-12 0-0 7-9 1 5 6 5 19 2 2 1 2 29

10 Smith, Crystal...... g 6-16 0-3 5-6 0 1 1 1 17 4 1 0 2 38

11 Smith, Kristi....... g 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 1 2 0 4 0 1 25

03 Emmert, Abby........ 3-3 1-1 0-2 0 2 2 1 7 1 0 0 0 16

24 Graham, Jenee....... 1-1 0-0 0-1 2 4 6 2 2 3 0 0 0 20

32 Ausdemore, Wendy.... 1-4 0-1 3-3 2 1 3 0 5 0 0 0 0 19

45 Kasperek, Morgan.... 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

Team................ 1 1 1

Totals.............. 23-53 1-6 15-23 8 25 33 14 62 11 10 2 5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-26 38.5% 2nd Half: 13-27 48.1% Game: 43.4% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 0-2 0.0% 2nd Half: 1-4 25.0% Game: 16.7% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 5-8 62.5% 2nd Half: 10-15 66.7% Game: 65.2% 4

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HOME TEAM: BYU 26-5

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

33 ANDERSON, Ambrosia.. f 7-21 2-8 4-6 2 7 9 1 20 2 3 0 2 36

35 JOHNSEN, Melinda.... f 2-3 2-3 0-1 0 3 3 2 6 3 1 0 1 35

45 KUBIK, Dani......... c 4-9 1-1 0-0 4 5 9 5 9 1 0 1 1 14

15 KEELE, Jennie....... g 2-5 2-3 0-0 1 0 1 0 6 3 4 0 1 21

30 GILLESPIE, Mallary.. g 3-5 1-3 0-0 0 3 3 1 7 3 1 0 0 31

01 SELJAAS, Nancy...... 1-3 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 3 2 1 1 0 0 12

10 STRATTON, Laura..... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4

24 HUTSON, Vanessa..... 2-3 2-3 2-2 0 0 0 1 8 1 1 0 0 15

32 SLADE, Shawnee...... 0-0 0-0 1-2 1 3 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 10

52 RILEY, Lauren....... 4-9 0-0 0-2 3 3 6 5 8 2 2 1 0 20

54 KING, Cassie........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2

TEAM................ 1 1 2 2

Totals.............. 25-58 10-23 7-13 12 26 38 19 67 17 15 2 5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-30 43.3% 2nd Half: 12-28 42.9% Game: 43.1% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-10 30.0% 2nd Half: 7-13 53.8% Game: 43.5% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 1-4 25.0% 2nd Half: 6-9 66.7% Game: 53.8% 2

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Officials: Gator Parrish, John Weeks, Penny Davis

Technical fouls: Iowa-None. BYU-None.

Attendance: 3701

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

Iowa.......................... 25 37 - 62

BYU........................... 30 37 - 67

FOULED OUT: BYU, Dani Kubik, 7:14 of 2nd Half; BYU, Lauren Riley, 5:14 of 2nd

Half; Iowa, Megan Skouby, 1:44 of 2nd Half

Tags: Results