Jan. 28, 2010
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Lisa Bluder spent the first 20 minutes of her weekly visit with the media Thursday talking about one player – freshman Jaime Printy – and with very, very good reason.
The rookie from nearby Marion is Iowa’s leading scorer and, earlier this week, was named the Big Ten Conference’s Freshman of the Week for the third time this season. Printy was the top scorer for Bluder’s squad in its victories over Illinois and Northwestern last week, knocking in 22 at Illini and 23 last Sunday against the Wildcats in Carver.
Printy, a starter in all 20 of Iowa’s games to date, leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per outing. She also tops the squad in assists with 64, ranks second in minutes played (661) and three-point field goals made (45), and third in total rebounds (89).
“Jaime is a very confident offensive player. She recognized that we needed her to fill that role (as a scorer) and has stepped up and done just that,” Iowa’s head coach said of the 5-foot-11 graduate of Linn-Mar High School who grew up shooting baskets just down the street from the home of Bluder’s parents.
Bluder said Printy’s offensive abilities were a known commodity, something they saw in her very early in the recruiting process – “We knew she had an uncanny ability to score.” – so what’s impressed Iowa’s head coach most has been her growth on the side of the court where games and championships are won: On defense.
“There’s always so much more to learn on the defensive side of the game. New scheme, new responsibilities, new coaches’ expectations… We don’t spend a whole lot of time teaching how to make a lay-up. All freshman pretty much have a lot to learn – a big challenge – on the defensive side and that’s where Jaime’s really made the greatest effort,” Bluder said.
“Jaime is a very confident offensive player. She recognized that we needed her to fill that role (as a scorer) and has stepped up and done just that.”
Asked if she was the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year, Bluder offered the obligatory, “I haven’t seen the entire conference yet,” before stating in no uncertain terms that “She’s definitely mine.”
A great effort. That’s also what Bluder is expecting Sunday when her squad entertains Purdue in a game that will be televised live by ESPN2. Tip off is set for shortly after 2 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Boilermakers dealt the Hawkeyes an 81-59 loss back on Jan. 17 in a game played in Mackey Arena, a place where Purdue has excelled as evidenced by its victory last week over nationally ranked Ohio State. The Boilermakers have been less dominating on the road. Sunday’s will also be their third game this week – and the only one for the Hawkeyes.
Bluder likes the fact that her team is at home and will be well rested. She also likes the fact that Iowa will have a healthier Kamille Wahlin on the floor than when these two teams met last.
“That alone will add a little spring to our step,” she said.
Sunday’s contest marks the start of the second half of the 2010 Big Ten Conference season, a nine-game stretch that includes five in the friendly confines of Carver where Iowa has already won seven of 11.