20th Win in Sight For Bluder's Bunch

Feb. 15, 2011

Complete Coach Bluder Press Conference Transcript (Feb. 15)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — With only a day to prepare for a women’s basketball game against Wisconsin, the highlight film from Iowa’s 63-point second half at Northwestern on Feb. 13 is on hold. For an upcoming project, perhaps UI video assistant Nick Doehrmann will add footage from Wednesday’s game against the senior-laden Badgers.

Iowa (19-7 overall, 7-6 Big Ten Conference) is in search of its 20th victory when it hosts Wisconsin (14-10, 9-3) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena tomorrow beginning at 7 p.m. It is the only meeting of the season between the teams in a series in which the Hawkeyes have won the last seven times.

“When you only play a team one time it has a little added importance,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Tuesday at a gathering with media in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “If it does end up in a tie, you have that one opportunity.”

Currently Wisconsin is third in the conference and Iowa is tied for fifth.

The top three scorers for the Badgers are seniors: Alyssa Karel (15.4 points per game), Lin Zastrow (13.9 ppg, 6.6 rebounds per game) and Tara Steinbauer (10.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg).

“These three seniors are very important to their system and have a lot of experience,” Bluder said. “They’ve been starters almost since day one.”

Like Wisconsin, Iowa is coming off two consecutive victories, including 86-75 at Northwestern in a game the Hawkeyes trailed by 11 at halftime.

“We just asked them to play with a little more energy, really,” Bluder said. “We wanted to play with high energy and we weren’t doing it. The second half, they totally turned that around.”

The Badgers held Northwestern to 41 points three days earlier during a 21-point win at home. That followed a 26-point win at Indiana. Wisconsin is 4-2 on the road in Big Ten play this season with three straight wins.

“Their overall record is not indicative of how good they are,” Bluder said. “They struggled in nonconference play when their star players were out with injuries. Since conference, those players are all healthy. This is a senior-laden team and they know what it’s like to be in the Big Ten on the road. They don’t get as intimidated going on the road as less experienced or younger teams.”

Iowa’s next victory will be No. 20 for the season, a milestone the program has reached the last three seasons as well. A win against the Badgers would be the 20th victory in 27 games; it took 29 games to reach 20 wins in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and 33 games last season.

“Now we’re talking about tradition,” Bluder said. “You get 20 wins, you’re in the NCAA Tournament. I don’t think that holds true as much as it used to, but it certainly has a good ring to it.”