Nov. 15, 2010
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team holds its home-opener Tuesday against undefeated Bradley. It will be the only time during the first seven games that the Hawkeyes won’t play on back-to-back days.
“It’s the fatigue from going that hard, the mental intensity of preparing for back-to-back games,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said at a media conference Monday. “It also jars the body; getting hit, getting smashed when you’re taking the ball to the hoop, getting laid out on the floor.”
The No. 22 Hawkeyes and Bradley tip-off at 5 p.m., as an opener for a women’s-men’s basketball twinbill in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be carried on television by Mediacom; but for $8, fans can watch the women’s game, as well as the men’s game between the Hawkeyes and Louisiana-Monroe (7:30 p.m. scheduled start). Bradley defeated Butler, 77-63, at home Nov. 13.
“Bradley is a very good transition team,” Bluder said. “They’re a very good shooting team — probably the best shooting team we’ve faced so far.”
The Braves made 25 of 49 field goals (51 percent) in their first game, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range. Meanwhile Butler was held to 28-percent shooting from the floor.
The Hawkeyes are 4-0 all-time against Bradley, winning most recently, 92-49, in 1999, the season before Bluder came to Iowa City.
Iowa (2-0) passed its first back-to-back test, winning the Islander Tip-Off Tournament last weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Hawkeyes defeated Southern, 76-52, in the first round and Arkansas State, 50-47, in the championship. Senior Kachine Alexander was named MVP of the tournament after scoring 30 points with 17 rebounds. Junior Kamille Wahlin added 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and was also selected to the all-tournament team.
“You get a little tired and you can feel it in your legs in the second game,” Wahlin said of playing on consecutive days. “It helps knowing we have already done it because it’s going to happen once we get into tournament play. When you get a couple under your belt you get more confident going into a tournament because we have already done it.”
Last season the Hawkeyes were 5-2 in games played back-to-back. This season they are scheduled for the KCRG-TV 9 Hawkeye Challenge (Northeastern on Nov. 20 and either Northern Colorado or Central Michigan on Nov. 21), followed by the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico (James Madison on Nov. 25 and Virginia Tech on Nov. 26).
“I thought we showed signs of fatigue in that second game,” Bluder said. “Hopefully now we have a little bit better idea of what’s in store for us and how to prepare.”
“Nobody is used to playing two games in a row at this point or being in the best game shape right now,” Bluder said. “The lack of depth hurts as well. It’s something we’re going to have to deal with this year. It’s good to try to get used to it.”
Bluder said freshman Jade Rogers, who sprained an ankle, practiced Monday and the Hawkeyes are optimistic about her seeing the court against Bradley. Junior Hannah Draxten will be in uniform, but she was limited to 10 minutes against Arkansas State with a back injury.
“She got jarred pretty well,” Bluder said of Draxten. “I do believe she will be back, it’s just that we have to give her a little bit of rest to get her back. Hopefully that will be (Tuesday); she did a little bit in practice (Monday).”
Iowa has won four straight games in the KCRG-TV 9 Hawkeye Challenge.