National Powers Collide in Carver

Jan. 6, 2011

Complete Coach Bluder Transcript (Jan. 6)

PARDON OUR PROGRESS! As friends of the University of Iowa 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!

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A women’s basketball event that has been nearly two years in the making takes place Saturday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa and Ohio State have played three times — all wins by the Buckeyes — since Feb. 12, 2009. But that was the last time the two national powers played in Iowa City. It was also the last win by the Hawkeyes — 85-75 when Ohio State was rated No. 13.

No. 21 Iowa (13-3 overall, 1-2 Big Ten Conference) hosts No. 20 Ohio State (10-4, 1-1) on Jan. 8 with a 3 p.m. tipoff. It is Girl Scout Day and doors to Carver-Hawkeye Arena open at 2.

“Our fans are ready for this game. I think they’ve had this one circled for a long time and I think they’re very excited about having Ohio State — a great team obviously — here in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder

“It’s kind of the game a lot of people have been waiting for,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Thursday at a gathering with media in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “The rematch of the (2010) Big Ten championship, the opportunity for us to host Ohio State, which we didn’t have the opportunity to do last year; we played them twice — a (four-point) loss at their place and a two-point loss in the Big Ten Tournament. I know that our players are very excited about this game. I don’t think I’ll have to do a lot to get them motivated to get ready for this game.”

The game is being televised live nationally by CBS, there are several promotions planned (including a Kachine Alexander bobblehead give-away) and a season-high crowd is expected. On Feb. 3, 1985, 22,157 fans crammed into the 15,500-capacity Carver-Hawkeye Arena in a game won by the Buckeyes, 56-47.

“Our fans are ready for this game,” Bluder said. “I think they’ve had this one circled for a long time and I think they’re very excited about having Ohio State — a great team obviously — here in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.”

Both teams are coming off victories Wednesday. Ohio State defeated Indiana, 83-65, at home and Iowa rallied for a 63-57 win at Minnesota. The victory came at a great time for the Hawkeyes, who travel to Michigan State (13-1, 1-0) on Jan. 13.

“We needed to know what it felt like to win,” Bluder said. “We needed to know between the ears that we were capable of winning and we proved that to ourselves (Wednesday) night.”

In the process, Iowa lifted the red shirt off sophomore guard Trisha Nesbitt, who played four minutes in her first action of the season.

“Although she’s missed a lot of games, we still have a lot of Big Ten basketball and hopefully a lot of NCAA basketball ahead of us,” Bluder said. “We do believe she can help us and we’re excited to have her back.”

The Buckeyes are led by Jantel Lavender, who averages 24.5 points and 11.3 rebounds a game. The 6-foot-4 senior post is the three-time Big Ten Conference Player of the Year.

“I don’t know if you can slow her down,” Bluder said. “If you put six or seven people out on the floor, you might be able to. She is one of the best players in America…on her way to becoming a four-time All-American.”

The Hawkeyes are 16-8 all-time against Ohio State in Iowa City.