Looking for a Confidence Boost

Feb. 10, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Jaime Printy found out Tuesday morning; Kachine Alexander heard the news a fews hours later.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers — Iowa’s opponents in women’s basketball this evening — are the second-hottest team in the Big Ten Conference with three consecutive victories.

“We can’t really think about that. They’re just another team and this is just another game,” Printy said.

“That’s great for them, but we are ready,” Alexander said. “We have five games left and we’re looking to be 5-0 in those five games.”

Iowa (17-7 overall, 5-6 Big Ten) hosts Minnesota (11-12, 3-7) tonight at 8 on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes have lost two in a row.

“We’ve had a couple tough losses,” Printy said. “I think home court advantage will do us a lot of good.”

When the teams met Jan. 5 in Minnesota, the Gophers were three games into a seven-game losing streak. Iowa overcame a 13-point second-half deficit and won 63-57 with Alexander leading the way with 20 points. The Hawkeyes snapped a two-game losing skid the first time around against Minnesota and now they have an opportunity to do it again.

“A win will definitely boost our confidence and get us back on the right track. But you can’t take them lightly, no matter what.”

“A win will definitely boost our confidence and get us back on the right track,” Alexander said. “But you can’t take them lightly, no matter what.”

On the morning of Jan. 27, the Golden Gophers were 0-7 in league play. They haven’t lost since and now they are one game behind six-time defending Big Ten champion Ohio State in the standings.

“They were spiraling big-time and for them to turn it around,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “They turned it around against two good teams (Michigan and Northwestern) on their home floor, then they go on the road and beat Indiana. You can see how far Minnesota has come since the beginning of the year. They’re playing much better.”

The Hawkeyes have won two in a row in the series and three of the last four. They have won the last three at home.

Iowa is four games out of first place in the conference and with five games remaining, a regular season title is a longshot. But as Alexander is quick to point out, there is still a lot to play for.

“It’s still not over,” Alexander said. “We have the Big Ten Tournament and we’re packed and ready for three days. We’re ready to be there for the long term.”

In the Hawkeye’s last outing, point guard Kamille Wahlin lit up Penn State for 24 points and six 3-point field goals. She is prepared to continue being a spark.

“It’s about getting back to Iowa basketball and focusing on the little things,” Wahlin said.

Tonight is Kelsey Cermak bobblehead night for the first 500 fans. Hot dogs will be $1 for the entire game and the halftime entertainment are the Skidmarkz racing dogs.