Feb. 1, 2011
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- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — If the University of Iowa women’s basketball game plan for Purdue is as good as its flight plan into West Lafayette, the Hawkeyes will be in good shape for Thursday’s Big Ten Conference clash.
Even with blizzard conditions expected to blanket the Midwest from Tuesday to Wednesday, UI head coach Lisa Bluder said the team’s travel itinerary will remain the same.
“They say that the plan that we have laid out right now is perfect for the weather,” Bluder said Tuesday at a media conference inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We are supposed to land at their airport at seven o’clock (p.m. on Wednesday) and it’s supposed to open up at six. So if everything goes according to plan, we have a pretty good one in place.”
An Iowa victory over Purdue on Thursday, combined with a Penn State victory over Michigan, would move the Hawkeyes from a fifth-place tie in the league standings to a fourth-place tie. But winning at Mackey Arena is not something Iowa has a lot of experience with: the Hawkeyes have dropped 10 straight in West Lafayette.
No. 20 Iowa (17-5 overall, 5-4 Big Ten) and Purdue (15-7, 5-4) share fifth place in the standings. Tipoff is 5:30 p.m. (CT).
“Purdue plays much better on their home court than they do away from their home court,” Bluder said. “I guess you could say that about a lot of people, but I think it’s really apparent with Purdue. They are averaging (7,236) people at a game and they have a great home-court environment.”
Thursday marks the second — and final — time this season that the Hawkeyes play back-to-back road games. They were 2-0 from Dec. 18-20 against South Dakota State (65-54) and Drake (75-71) and Iowa won at Illinois on Sunday, 80-69. The Hawkeyes return home Sunday to face Penn State at 2 p.m.
Bluder knows that the best way for Iowa to climb back into Big Ten title contention is to win two games. The first is against a Boilermaker program it hasn’t defeated on the road since 1998 and the second is against a league-leading Nittany Lion team that handed the Hawkeyes a league-opening 69-58 loss in State College.
“Win two games, that’s what it takes,” Bluder said. “We have to win two games and that still won’t separate us from the pack. It will put us right into contention. It’s a situation where you have to win each game.”
Iowa closes its regular season with four of its final six games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Both Iowa and Purdue have won two consecutive games; Purdue has won four straight at home. The Boilermakers are led in scoring by Brittany Rayburn (13.6 points per game), Courtney Moses (12.9) and Drey Mingo (10.3). Moses had the hot hand during Purdue’s 71-57 win against Indiana on Sunday, making 8 of 16 field goals, including 5 of 8 3-pointers for 23 points.
The Hawkeyes counter with four double-figure scorers, led by Jaime Printy (15.8), who shoots 87.5 percent from the line and 38.6 percent from 3-point range.