Lisa Bluder Press Conference Transcript

Dec. 8, 2010

PARDON OUR PROGRESS! As friends of the UI and fans of the Hawkeyes know, the UI Athletics Department is well into a multi-million dollar revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This important and exciting project has reduced for this season the number of ticket windows that are operational on game nights. Fans attending the home events of the 2010-11 UI men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling teams are invited to avoid game night delays by purchasing their event tickets online or in advance of game day. If your schedule doesn’t allow for an advance purchase, we recommend you consider arriving at the Arena a little earlier than originally planned. Go Hawks!

COACH BLUDER: So it’s our first in state rivalry games. It’s exciting. Our team is ready to go. I think they’re very excited about this game. I think both teams are playing very good basketball right now. Both teams just have one loss, both of them against a ranked opponent. So I think these are two really evenly matched teams. They’re ranked ahead of us and that’s fine. It gives us a little something to shoot for. But our team is excited and ready to play Iowa State tomorrow.

Q. Kachine didn’t play last year. That has to be a plus to have her back.

COACH BLUDER: Yeah, Kachine didn’t have an opportunity to play in her junior year (against Iowa State). I know she’s excited about this game and having an opportunity to finish her senior year hosting Iowa State here in Carver.

Q. How about the matchups? Do you feel good about it? You have more size.

COACH BLUDER: I don’t know about that. Their center is bigger than our center at 6’7″. That’s the tallest center we’ll be facing this year. It’s significant. But Kelsey Bolte, she impresses me watching her on film. She’s got such a quick three point shot. She really lit it up against us last year. She’s a great player. I like Hallie Christofferson, their freshman from Iowa, somebody we tried to recruit. Obviously she went over to Iowa State. Her sister runs track there. She is a really nice player. I think she is a difficult person to match up with because she can post very well but she can shoot the three extremely well. She runs the floor like a deer. She’s a really nice player. Yeah, Kelsey Bolte, we’ve got to keep our eyes on her all the time because she is such an integral part of their offense, I think somebody they look to when things are not going well. But she’s a good quality player.

Q. Just the fact that both teams are ranked, would you say this is the biggest Iowa/Iowa State game so far?

COACH BLUDER: I guess on paper it is, but they always are. Every year is an important matchup. Every year each team is extremely excited to play it. This year both being ranked it makes it extra special. Hopefully we’ll get a great crowd out here tomorrow. Iowa State always travels well. They always bring a great number of people over here for the game. So I’m hoping we’ll get a lot of Iowa fans here, too, wearing black in the arena.

Q. Did you watch the Michigan tape at all?

COACH BLUDER: We have, yeah.

Q. What did you see from looking at them?

COACH BLUDER: It was a close game really throughout most of the contest. At the end they got open for threes. Kelsey Bolte, Anna Prins hits threes towards the end. That’s the thing with Iowa State, Kansas State, who we just played, you get a little bit of a lead, you can never let up on these teams. I know how they fight, how important this game is to them. No matter what the score is, I think both teams are going to be completely intense the entire 40 minutes.

Q. You talked about you shot eight threes and still won. That’s got to give your team confidence.

COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I think that’s an encouraging thing that we don’t have to rely on one thing or the other in order to score. We’ll take whatever the defense gives us. That’s the way I want to play. I don’t want to force the issue on our offense. I want to take what’s the easiest thing there. Make the game as easy as possible. We’re not like we have to shoot this many threes. No, we want to take what the defense gives us.

Q. Prins doesn’t seem to block a lot of shots. How disruptive is she in the paint?

COACH BLUDER: With that height, that’s pretty intimidating, the 6’7″ frame. Again, she runs the floor really well. I’ve seen her get out and run on fast breaks. I’ve seen her in transition pull up and stop and take a three point shot. We have to meet her early. Definitely she’s a presence in the paint at 6’7″.

Q. Hannah seems to be playing with more confidence each time she goes out.

COACH BLUDER: We want all of them coming off the bench, we want that strong bench. We want them to contribute when they come in and obviously feeling confident about their game is going to help them be successful.

Q. Both teams being ranked for the first time, what significance does that have and what does that say about both programs?

COACH BLUDER: Well, I think it is pretty amazing that a state this size, this low in population, can have two schools ranked in the top 20. That’s pretty amazing. It really speaks volumes I think for the high school coaches we have in the state because both programs are dotted with Iowa players. So I think it says a lot for the type of coaching that these players are getting within the high school ranks, the AAU programs here in our state. It speaks volumes about that. But it’s a significant game. It’s a significant win for whoever gets it because of the recruiting. We’re both trying to recruit the state of Iowa. That’s important. And you’re both trying to build fans. Iowa State has the fan base really already built, and we’re still trying to build ours. A win like this could be really significant for us in that area as well.

Q. Do you think you’ve lost girls over the years and gotten girls over the years based on the outcome of this game?

COACH BLUDER: I’m not sure if it’s just the outcome of this game. I think we’ve lost players to Iowa State. Iowa State has lost players to us. I think it’s gone both ways. It almost seems a little more geographical than anything else right now. But certainly being able to market this game, whether you win it or not, makes a big difference in recruiting.

Q. You play over 30 games. What do you remember from last year’s game? Not a high point in the season.

COACH BLUDER: No, we did not play very well over there. A lot of teams go to Hilton and experience that. It’s a very tough place to play. I remember Kelsey Bolte having an incredible game and just getting three after three after three off. We didn’t have Kachine. We were a very young team, had a lot of freshmen on the floor. I’m glad we have a little more experience this year. I think that will help us deal with this rivalry a little better.

Q. Do you think that’s motivating to some of the younger players, kind of the first taste of the series was a bad taste, now they have another chance?

COACH BLUDER: I think they’re really excited to have them here in Carver Hawkeye Arena, knowing it’s going to be a great game, knowing we didn’t play well at their place. You want to have respect, too. We’re fighting for that tomorrow.

Q. Coach said Monday the key is to keep you off the line. How important is it for you as well to shoot free throws to get there often?

COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I think that’s part of our game plan every time, is that we want to get to the free throw line because we’re very good when we’re there. So we definitely want to get to the free throw line. We will attempt to do that on Thursday just like we do in every game.

Q. This is the third game of a pretty tough stretch for you guys. How important would it be to come out 2-1?

COACH BLUDER: It would be wonderful. It’s the best possible outcome right now. We would love to have that. If we think about this stretch, these three games that we’re playing, all teams ranked top 30 in the country, to come out of here 2 1 would be very good for our program.

Q. You were behind a couple times. One time you won, one time you didn’t. Knowing you’ve been in that situation, that has to help down the line.

COACH BLUDER: I think every time you put yourself in a situation and you work your way out of it to make it a successful situation for you, it helps. Your players now have that history they can draw upon. You can use that as an example. If you’re down at halftime, they can say, Hey, remember the Kansas State game, we were down four, came back and win that game by six, have a 10 point swing in the second half. So I think anytime you can use history, coaches typically do that.

Q. (Indiscernible) seemed to frustrate Chambers. Can you use that same type of thing on Bolte at all?

COACH BLUDER: I think our defense has improved a lot from last year. I just hope that we can defend Kelsey Bolte. She is a very good offensive player. She’s got such good size, she’s hard to defend getting that three point shot off because she has a high release point with that. She’s just a tough player to defend. We definitely think it’s one of the keys to the game, try to defend her, keep her below her numbers.

Q. How would you describe your relationship with the coaching staff out there?

COACH BLUDER: At Iowa State? I think we respect them. We think they work extremely hard. They do a good job. Every year they have a winning program. What they’ve done is very, very good. And the fan support they have is amazing.