Feb. 6, 2010
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Editor’s Note: The following article first appeared in the Feb. 5 edition of the Official Sports Report (OSR) for the University of Iowa. OSR is a daily e-newsletter exclusively about the Iowa Hawkeyes. Click HERE to learn more.
IOWA CITY – When media voters are looking to name a conference coach of the year, most eyes tend to look towards the top of the standings. Coaches who led their respective teams to league titles, undefeated seasons or unprecedented winning streaks usually get the nod. But, a highly respected television analyst for the Big Ten Network tends to think in a different direction.
Mary Murphy, who is one of the Big Ten Network’s lead women’s basketball analysts, believes a certain Hawkeye head women’s basketball coach should receive strong consideration for the Big Ten Coach of the Year honor this season.
“In my mind, Lisa Bluder is the Big Ten Coach of the Year,” Murphy said. “Look at the injuries to (JoAnn) Hamlin, (Theairra) Taylor and (Hannah) Draxten, being without Kachine (Alexander) and wondering if she was going to get better. Things were really piling on top of this basketball team, but she (Coach Bluder) just stayed with it and took it day-to-day and practice-by-practice. The thing about Coach Bluder that has impressed me so much is taking care of the task at hand.”
Murphy, who was a part of the television crew that called Iowa’s game at Ohio State Thursday, is certain the leadership from the top of the Hawkeye women’s basketball team is the reason that a team of just two upperclassmen has enjoyed a successful run recently.
In my mind, Lisa Bluder is the Big Ten Coach of the Year. Look at the injuries to (JoAnn) Hamlin, (Theairra) Taylor and (Hannah) Draxten, being without Kachine (Alexander) and wondering if she was going to get better. Things were really piling on top of this basketball team, but she (Coach Bluder) just stayed with it and took it day-to-day and practice-by-practice. The thing about Coach Bluder that has impressed me so much is taking care of the task at hand.”
BTN Analyst Mary Murphy
“I’m immensely impressed with this team and what they have done during their three-game winning streak (in Big Ten play),” Murphy said. “I take my hat off to Coach Bluder and her staff. They have done a tremendous job.”
It’s not just the coaching staff that has Murphy excited to watch the Black and Gold. She is quick to point out the roster is complete with some pretty exciting players to watch.
Kachine Alexander, who stands all of 5-9, is among the Big Ten’s best in rebounding. Yes, a 5-9 guard is nearly leading the Big Ten in rebounding. Couple that with her quick slashing moves and lock-down defense, and Murphy thinks a diamond in the rough makes her home at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Kachine Alexander is one of the most amazing young players, I think, in the country,” Murphy said. “The country really hasn’t discovered her yet. When you have Kachine `The Machine’ Alexander, anything is possible.”
The Big Ten Conference has honored Jaime Printy three times with its Freshman of the Week award. Murphy believes the Marion, IA, native is more than deserving of the accolades.
“Jaime Printy has made such progress,” Murphy said. “I saw Iowa earlier in the year against Boston College, and Printy was still figuring out how she was going to score consistently. Let me tell you, she has figured it out, and more. She’s not just a shooter, she’s a scorer.”
Another player that Murphy loves to see on the court is Iowa’s sophomore point guard, Kamille Wahlin. Murphy has seen her fair share of Big Ten games this season, which makes her comments about Wahlin even more flattering.
Kamille Wahlin is personally one of my favorites to watch. She does a terrific job and has adjusted her game.”
BTN Analyst Mary Murphy
“Kamille Wahlin is personally one of my favorites to watch,” Murphy said. “She does a terrific job and has adjusted her game.”
When looking at the Iowa statistical sheet, one can see that over 80 percent of the teams’ points scored and minutes played are by either freshmen or sophomores. Mix that in with a coaching staff that has a reputation for top-notch recruiting, and the future of Iowa women’s basketball is glowing with brightness.
“The future is very bright,” Murphy said. “It all looks real good for the Hawkeyes.”