Oct. 20, 2005
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- The Hawkeyes’ 2005-06 Schedule
- The 2005-06 Hawkeyes
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Lisa Bluder opened her first meeting with the area media for the 2005-06 with a little honesty: Iowa’s head women’s basketball coach said she really enjoyed cooking. Knocking around the kitchen provided her a nice diversion from the challenges of being in charge of a NCAA Division I basketball program.
“During the summer I was feeling really good about the ingredients we had available to us as a basketball team. Then, unfortunately, the telephone calls started. First Lindsay (Richards) and then Jo (Johanna Solverson),’ sighed Bluder, making note of the loss of two of the student-athletes she was expecting to have at her side this fall and winter.
Richards and Solverson will both spend the 2005-06 recovering from knee surgeries.
“So, like any good cook, I think you go back to the kitchen and you revamp your recipe and that’s what we’ve done,” Bluder said. “I can say with certainty that I’m confident that we can whip up something pretty good with the ingredients we still have available to us.”
Bluder said the revamped recipe starts where the old recipe began: With senior guard Crystal Smith, Iowa’s explosive playmaker. A third-team all-Big Ten selection a year ago, Bluder sees big things for her team leader who took quantum leaps in all phases of her game a year ago.
“This year we’re going to have the luxury of keeping her at the off guard position. She’s probably the most athletic player we’ve ever coached, she plays great defense and, as she demonstrated a year ago, she can certainly shoot the basketball,” said Bluder.
“This year we’re going to have the luxury of keeping her at the off guard position. She’s probably the most athletic player we’ve ever coached, she plays great defense and, as she demonstrated a year ago, she can certainly shoot the basketball.”
Lisa Bluder on Crystal Smith
Bluder is also high on sophomore forward Krista VandeVenter, who brings a fierceness to the floor.
“Krista was our best rebounder a year ago. She’s so strong under the boards and she really made great improvements offensively over the summer,” Bluder said of VandeVenter.
Iowa also returns point guard Abby Emmert and Tiffany Reed. The veterans will be joined by a talented group of five freshmen: Wendy Ausdemore, Lindsey Nyenhuis, Kristi Smith, Nicole VanderPol and Megan Skouby.
Bluder thinks this is a high-impact group of newcomers and think as many as three could find a way into the starting rotation.
Bluder’s Bunch faces one of its most challenging schedules ever, a slate that includes a mouthful of Big Ten talented, intrastate rival Drake, and games against national powers Louisiana Tech and Rutgers, the latter coached by former UI coach C. Vivian Stringer.
It’s a task made more challenging by the loss of Richards and Solverson.
“When we made the schedule, we thought we were going to have two senior starters in our lineup,” she explained frankly.
“That’s just reality. You make the schedule ahead of time and you simply don’t count on injuries.”
Click HERE for a closer look at the 2005-06 Iowa women’s basketball team.