Iowa Downs Virginia, 69-62, In NCAA Tourney First Round
March 16, 2002
By DONNA TOMMELLEO
AP Sports Writer
STORRS, Conn. (AP) – If Iowa was rusty, it didn’t show.
Paced by Lindsey Meder’s 23 points, the Hawkeyes ended a 15-day layoff with a 69-62 victory over Virginia on Saturday in the first round of the Mideast Regional.
“We had rested legs and I think that was a big factor in the intensity we came out and played with,” Meder said.
The Hawkeyes last played March 1, a 78-76 overtime loss to Indiana in the Big Ten tournament championship.
Jerica Watson added 18 points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the ninth-seeded Hawkeyes (18-10).
Meder’s leaner with 2:36 remaining gave Iowa the lead for good at 62-60, and Watson helped protect that advantage with a key defensive rebound with 30 seconds to go.
“Every time Virginia would make a run to tie it up in the second half, I didn’t feel like we lost our composure,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “We didn’t rush things.”
Telisha Quarles scored 17 points for Virginia (17-13), getting 14 in the second half after sitting out most of the first half with foul trouble. Her steal and layup at 5:08 tied it at 57, and her 3-pointer with 2:49 pulled Virginia even for the last time at 60-all.
“It could have been a totally different game if I was out there the first half,” Quarles said.
Anna Crosswhite scored 12 for Virginia.
Meder, the Big Ten’s 3-point leader, went 2-for-4 from behind the arc but got most of her early points from the inside. She scored eight of her 15 first-half points in the last five minutes of the period.
Her driving layup with 4:25 left gave the Hawkeyes a 26-25 lead. After the teams traded baskets during the next three minutes, Virginia tied it at 32 with 1:02 left. Meder scored the last four points on layups to give Iowa a 36-32 lead at the break.
Virginia coach Debbie Ryan said her team has had to rally all year for wins.
“We dug ourselves a little hole in the first half and we were able to dig our way out of it,” Ryan said. “I was just disappointed we weren’t able to close it at the end. (Iowa) did a nice job of executing at the end and that made all the difference.”