Emotional Night in Store for Thursday

Feb. 22, 2011

Complete Coach Bluder Press Conference Transcript

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 — Thursday night will bring out a range of emotions for the University of Iowa women’s basketball program. The Hawkeyes look for their fourth straight victory, but at the same time, the team’s two seniors — Kachine Alexander and Kelsey Cermak — will play their final game on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It is amazing that it is already here, and we’re talking about our final two games and our senior night,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder at Tuesday’s gathering with the media. “Senior night is always tough. You have to say goodbye to people that have been a huge part of your program the last four years, and this one is special because of what Kelsey and Kachine have done for our program.

“To think about what they’ve done over the last four years, four 20-win seasons, on the verge of four NCAA Tournament appearances… that’s tradition. They’re leaving a legacy behind. I think we need to have a great sendoff for them against Illinois.”

The Fighting Illini come to Iowa City having lost 10 straight and 14-of-16 games with their last victory coming at Indiana on Jan. 13. Bluder is weary of Illinois and sophomore Karisma Penn, who is averaging a double-double with 18.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, coming to town.

“Illinois comes in losing 10 in a row, and they are one of those dangerous programs because they want nothing less than to be a spoiler for us,” said Bluder. “Even though their record isn’t that strong, this is a team that could really raise havoc the last week of the season and going into the Big Ten Tournament. I’m glad we have them on our home court.”

The Hawkeyes look to break the all-time single season attendance record Thursday against Illinois. Iowa is hosting “Break the Record Night”, as it needs 7,464 fans for the home finale to surpass the record of 83,945 fans set during the 1993-94 campaign.

“Our fans have been great this year,” said Bluder. “They come to the arena; they don’t sit on their hands. They appreciate the players and the effort that they give, so they’ve been tremendous.

“I think this would be a fitting way for this senior class to go out with that type of record in addition to what they’ve already done. Whether we break it or not, it’s been a great year for our attendance, and I want to thank our fans for what they’ve done for us.”

Regular single game tickets are $9 for adults, with children (18 and under) admitted free. UI students are also admitted free with a valid student ID. Fans also will have an opportunity to receive discounted tickets by taking advantage of one of the many promotions.

“They’re having all sorts of promotional giveaways and ways to get reduced price tickets by going on Facebook, Twitter or Hawk Talk (Daily) subscribers are getting $5 tickets as well,” said Bluder. “Hopefully we’ll make history, and hopefully we’ll get a win over Illinois.”