Building on that 'Winning Feeling'

Jan. 7, 2011

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!

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa women’s basketball team was staring an 0-3 Big Ten start straight in the eyes before rallying from 13 down in the second half to top Minnesota on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

“That was a huge win, starting off 0-2 (in Big Ten) is always hard,” said sophomore Jaime Printy. “We got a big road win. I think that feeling of what it feels like to win is important, especially going into Saturday.”

The Hawkeyes are hoping the good “winning feeling” will continue when hosting No. 20 Ohio State on the national stage on CBS. Iowa will look to avenge a pair of two point losses to the Buckeyes a season ago, one of which came in the Big Ten Tournament championship game.

For the Hawkeyes to prevail they will need to stop or at least slow down OSU senior Jantel Lavender, a three-time All-America selection. The forward is averaging 24.5 points per game — the second best mark in the nation — while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 84 percent from the charity stripe. Lavender also pulls in 11.3 rebounds per contest, which ranks in the top-15 in the country.

“She is a big, strong girl and she knows basketball,” said Morgan Johnson, who will draw the defensive match-up with the 6-4 Lavender. “Inside and out, she knows how to rebound both offensively and defensively.

“Right now she is averaging 24 points — we want to hold her below her average. My goal every game is that my person scores less than 15 points and that’s the goal for this game too.”

Johnson will explore a number of ways to try and wear down the three-time Big Ten Player of the Year.

“I am a post that likes to post up all the time, even if I know I am just going to be a distraction, and that’s going to definitely wear her down. I will look to fast break on her too; try to wear her down running up and down the court.”

In the road win at Minnesota, the Hawkeyes got a big performance from their All-America candidate, senior Kachine Alexander. Playing in her home state, the guard finished with a 20-point, eight rebound effort in helping Iowa pick up its first Big Ten victory. In the process, Alexander hit the 1,000-career point mark, becoming the 27th player in school history to reach the milestone.

“I had a chance to get it at home (Iowa City) or in Minnesota,” said Alexander, who is averaging 13.9 points and a team-best 9.1 rebounds per game. “It’s always cool to go back home your last time playing on the Gopher court and you get your 1,000th point. Coming out of high school, I would have never guessed I would reach that milestone, so that’s very special to me.”

Another special occasion will take place on Saturday as it is “Kachine Alexander Bobblhead Day” with the first 1,000 fans receiving the memento.

“I didn’t think too much of it,” said Alexander of having her own bobblehead. “But my friend came to visit me the other day, `Oh my gosh, you have a bobblehead?’ I was like, `So?’ She’s like, `How many people ever get to have a bobblehead in their life?’

“I was, `Ok, you’re right, you’re right.'”

Getting that first Big Ten victory and entering the game on a winning streak is important for the Hawkeyes. Now they’re excited to get back on the court against Ohio State.

“Obviously this will be a fun one,” said Printy. “We’ve been looking forward to it for a while.”