The Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Feb. 17, 2009

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The girls just want to have fun.

That was one of the messages Lisa Bluder delivered when she met with the media today to discuss the fortunes of the University of Iowa women’s basketball team.

And, lately, they have.

“This team is probably better at letting it go and just having fun,” Bluder said at the end of a discussion that centered on whether Bluder’s Bunch felt any additional pressure as a result of the UI’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena being the site of first and second round games of the 2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.

Four teams will be invited to the home of the Hawkeyes for three games – two Sunday, Mar. 22, and another Tuesday, Mar. 24. The winner advances to regional competition.

“It was kind of like the elephant in the room for awhile. Do you talk about it? Do you ignore it?” Bluder told the group, noting that the team talked about it early in the Big Ten Conference season and, according to Iowa’s veteran head coach, appeared to let it go last week when they handed No. 13 Ohio State its second conference loss of the season Thursday night in Carver before travelling to Penn State on Sunday where they rebounded from a 20-point second half margin to defeat the Nittany Lions.

“We talked about it back then. We asked, `Do you really want someone else playing in your building? Do you really want some other team using your lockerroom?’

With victories in eight of its last 10 games, the answers to those questions, while maybe not expressed at the time, are a clear and definitive, “No.”

“We talked about it back then. We asked, `Do you really want someone else playing in your building? Do you really want some other team using your lockerroom?’
Lisa Bluder on whether her team felt pressure as a result of the University of Iowa being a host for first and second round NCAA Tournament games.

And, while Bluder isn’t so sure her team was even on the “Bubble” a week ago – “We have a solid RPI and not a single bad loss on our resume ,” she pointed out – she did acknowledge that the Hawkeyes’ wins last week probably “bought us a little breathing room.”

That does not, however, mean the Hawkeyes are going to rest on their laurels. Far from it, said their head coach.

Iowa has four regular season games left to play – two in Iowa City and two on the road before packing for Indianapolis and this year’s Big Ten Tournament. And while all four are very winnable, none are anywhere near in the bank as far as Bluder is concerned, starting with Iowa’s contest against Wisconsin Thursday at 7 p.m. in Carver.

“It seems like eons since we played Wisconsin to open the season. Then we have to play at Michigan and at Northwestern in their Senior Day events. Michigan has been very, very tough at home and they’ve had some really crazy finishes to more than a handful of their games,” said Bluder.

Bluder might be apprehensive about the remainder fo the year — “I don’t want any bad losses,” she admitted — the fact is that she eels really good about the way her squad is playing right now.

“”We’re very balanced. We’re playing very good defense. We’re making our free throws… The team is enjoying themselves,” she said with a smile.

You know. Girls just want to have fun…

“The team really feels good about itself right now. We’re playing very confidently,” she continued. “They love playing in Carver. They really enjoy playing for our fans. And they want to extend their season in Carver.”