Jan. 18, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s time to rebound.
For the University of Iowa women’s basketball team, that means on the court during Thursday’s Big Ten Conference showdown against Wisconsin, which ideally will translate into a rebound into the win column. The last time the Hawkeyes (10-8 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) held a rebounding advantage over an opponent was Jan. 5 at home against Illinois (49-45). The fact that Iowa won that game, 69-62 in overtime, is probably no coincidence. During the last two outings, the Hawkeyes have been out-rebounded at home Jan. 8 by Nebraska (34-28) and on the road Jan. 15 by Purdue (48-38). Iowa lost its last two games by a combined seven points.
After 18 games, UI head coach Lisa Bluder probably expected to be sitting a little better than two games above .500. But with 11 regular-season games remaining, there is nothing but a positive vibe surrounding her program.
“What gives me hope is the kids we have on our team. They’ve done it before,” Bluder said Wednesday at a press conference in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We’ve been in this situation before, and our players have rebounded. Just having the type of kids that we have on this team, they believe they can do it. To me that’s more than half the battle. They stay confident and they keep believing: believing in each other, believing in the system. When that happens, good things usually happen.”
“What gives me hope is the kids we have on our team. They’ve done it before. We’ve been in this situation before, and our players have rebounded. Just having the type of kids that we have on this team, they believe they can do it. To me that’s more than half the battle. They stay confident and they keep believing: believing in each other, believing in the system. When that happens, good things usually happen.”
UI head women’s basketball coach
During a 57-55 loss at Purdue on Jan. 15, the Boilermakers collected 24 offensive rebounds. Hawkeye center Morgan Johnson scored 16 points with five rebounds, but since that game she has been focusing on “boxing out 150 times and 150 times more.”
“We’ve come up short several times at the end of games,” Johnson said. “We’ve been battling, scrapping for things, but sometimes we need to finish a game. I feel like this next game we’re looking for a big finish. We want to get a win, especially to lift our spirits.”
Iowa has won eight straight games against Wisconsin, which enters Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a record of 5-12, 1-4. Bluder says the Badgers’ record is misleading.
“They probably have one of the more deceiving records in the Big Ten,’ Bluder said. “They’re 1 4 but they have played against Purdue, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State — four of the top teams in our conference. They did beat Illinois at Illinois. So I think they’re a team that has progressively gotten better throughout the year.”
The Hawkeyes have one starter from the state of Wisconsin: freshman guard Samantha Logic, who is averaging 7.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. The Badgers have two players from the state of Iowa: sophomore starting guard Morgan Paige of Marion and freshman reserve guard Lindsay Smith of DeWitt. Paige scores 7.7 points and game and Smith averages 2.1
“So just an interesting angle,” Bluder said. “It’s always fun for those players to go back home and to be able to play in front of your home-state crowd.”
The quest for a victory is keeping Iowa’s focus solely on Wisconsin, rather than looking ahead to the rest of January with dates at Penn State (Jan. 22) and at Nebraska (Jan. 26) and at home against Purdue (Jan. 28). Those three opponents have a combined Big Ten record of 12-3.
“At this point we have to take it one game at a time,” said UI junior guard Jaime Printy, who leads Iowa in scoring (17.7), assists (4.2), steals (2.1) and 3-point field goals per game (1.9). “We know that good things are going to happen and good things are coming because we’re so close. We have to focus on getting wins, not looking too far ahead.”
“I think with us right now it’s not because we just need to win,” Bluder said. “Our players are not looking ahead to Penn State at all. They are really focused on Wisconsin.”
Thursday is Iowa’s Blackout game with the first 1,000 fans receiving a Kamille Wahlin bobblehead figure. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT).