Hawkeyes Look to End the Hilton Jinx

Dec. 5, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa by 22 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa State by 20 in Hilton Coliseum. Iowa by 20 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

When it comes to the Iowa-Iowa State women’s basketball rivalry, the home team traditionally thrives. The Hawkeyes (5-3 overall) have a chance to alter those recent outcomes when they travel to Ames for Wednesday’s nonconference contest against Iowa State (4-2). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity to bounce back, but we know it’s also a tough scenario,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Monday at a press conference inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The bounce-back is in reference to an 81-78 loss at Kansas State on Saturday. It’s a game where Iowa fought back from a 13-point deficit with 15 minutes to play to force overtime.

“The way we came back in the second half against Kansas State and had that rally going; it gave us confidence to know we can play and do things like that on the road,” UI junior Jaime Printy said. “We don’t just have to be at home.”

Printy, who leads the Hawkeyes in scoring (18.0 points per game) and assists (3.8 per game), is one of 10 native Iowans on the rosters for either Iowa and Iowa State. That, too, adds to the intensity of the annual contest.

“This state, for the size and population, it’s amazing how many Division I players there are in this state,” Bluder said. “You look at (Northern Iowa’s) roster, how many Iowa kids they have playing for them, playing really well. I think the state of girls’ basketball is very good.”

Bluder described the recent results in the series as strange. Last season the Hawkeyes won 62-40 at home; two years ago the Cyclones won 66-46 in Ames; in 2008 Iowa won 66-46 at home. The last time a team in the series won on the opponent’s home court was on Nov. 30, 2006, when Iowa State won 80-74 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It’s very strange and I can’t tell you why,” Bluder said. “I remember one time we went over there and it was close (101-94 overtime win by Iowa State in 2003 in Ames). I can only remember one close game; it’s been a long time since we’ve had a close one there or they’ve had a close one here.”

In an attempt to change that trend, the Hawkeyes are leaving Iowa City at 9 p.m., on Tuesday and they will spend the night in Ames.

“This year we’re going over the night before, which we’ve never done before,” Bluder said. “We always went the day of the game, (this will) keep it consistent as possible with (every other road game). It sounds like a minor thing and it probably is. It does keep it in that normal pregame routine that we usually have.”

Both of Iowa State’s losses this season have come against Big Ten opponents: 66-59 against Penn State on Nov. 25, and 56-49 at Michigan on Dec. 4.

“Iowa State has a good team and they’re very good in Hilton, as well,” Bluder said.

The Hawkeyes return home for the first time in nine days when they host Western Illinois on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.