Nov. 12, 2011
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By ADAM MEIER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It took a bit for University of Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder’s Hawkeyes to hit their stride Saturday night, but after a slow start, the Iowa women’s basketball team nearly reached triple digits in the first game of the 2011-12 season.
Junior Jaime Printy led the Hawkeyes (1-0) with 24 points in a 90-81 win over Harvard (0-1). Morgan Johnson also had a big game, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds along with three blocked shots.
“This is a very good opening win for us,” Bluder said. “I’m happy with our team. We shot the ball well and had almost five people in double figures. I love to have that type of balance.”
While the Hawkeyes struggled to score in the early portions of the first half, Harvard seemingly couldn’t miss.
The Crimson came out blazing, making eight of their first 11 shots from the field. Iowa on the other hand, struggled to get into an offensive rhythm.
“Harvard is an excellent team,” Bluder said. “I thought they shot the ball well, I thought they were very physical. They transitioned well. We weren’t really ready for their transition and they did a really nice job of pushing the ball.”
With 16:01 remaining in the first half, senior Kamille Wahlin came off a screen to hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, tying the score at 9-9. The Hawkeyes then endured a scoring draught of nearly four minutes that was ended by Printy rattling off five quick points to cut the Harvard lead to 22-14 with 11:58 to go in the half.
After another dry spell for the Iowa offense, freshman Samantha Logic jumped into the passing lane to steal the ball for a breakaway layup with 5:02 left in the half, bringing the Hawkeyes’ deficit to 22-30. Logic’s steal sparked the rest of the Hawkeyes and the shots rapidly started falling. Wahlin nailed her second long distance shot of the half and senior Kelly Krei followed with two 3-pointers of her own, including one with 1:33 left in the half to bring Iowa’s deficit to 34-40.
“Everyone knew it was important to get some momentum going into the locker room,” Krei said. “We were running our offense well. We were moving the ball around and getting some good open shots and that’s what our offense looks for. We just needed to pick it up and that’s what we did at the end of the first half. “
Krei finished the game with 16 points and five rebounds. She connected on four of her six 3-point attempts.
The Hawkeyes’ defense held strong for the rest of the half and Bluder’s team went into the locker room trailing, 37-40.
After the hot start for Harvard and cold one for the Hawkeyes, the team shooting balanced out by halftime. Both teams shot 43 percent in the first period.
The second half began in back-and-forth fashion and the score was knotted at 50-50 with 15 minutes remaining.
Over the next five minutes, Iowa went on a 12-5 run capped by Logic finding a cutting Wahlin for the easy layup to give the Hawkeyes a 62-55 advantage.
“I think we got the ball inside for some higher-percentage shots and got them into a little bit of foul trouble inside,” Bluder said.
Later, freshman Melissa Dixon knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner and Printy followed with one of her own to make Iowa’s lead 71-62 with 5:58 left in the game. The Hawkeye offense continued to run smoothly throughout the remainder of the game.
“We’re a good shooting team,” Bluder added. “But I think it’s because we’re smart and we know a good shot from a bad shot. You just have to keep running the offense and all of the sudden you’re going to have that layup, or all of the sudden you’re going to have that wide-open three.”
The Hawkeyes finished the game shooting 30-of-59 (50.8 percent), including 9-of-19 (47.4 percent) from beyond the arc.
Krei pumped in her fourth and final 3-pointer of the night with 2:26 to go, giving the Hawkeyes a 84-70 lead. The Iowa defense limited Harvard in the final minutes, giving the Hawkeyes some breathing room as the clock wound down.
The Hawkeyes’ next game is Sunday, Nov. 13, against UNLV in the Hawkeye Challenge championship game. Tipoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. (CT), at Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.