Jan. 21, 2012
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team has a “good feeling” heading into Sunday’s game at Penn State.
Not only are the Hawkeyes traveling to Happy Valley on the heels of a 69-57 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday night, but the team has added confidence knowing that two Big Ten Conference teams have gone into the Bryce Jordan Center and won this season.
After winning their first six home games of the season, the Lady Lions dropped back-to-back dates to Nebraska (71-63) and Michigan State (75-65). Penn State is currently riding a three-game winning streak, which includes a 93-73 victory at Nebraska on Jan. 15.
“Going into Penn State with a win is a good feeling,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “We’ve got to remember it and prepare for Penn State knowing that two teams have gone in there and beat them on their home court in the Big Ten season.”
“Road games are always tough, and knowing that Penn State has lost twice on their home court in Big Ten play is huge for us. We’ve got to go in there knowing that we can do the same thing.”
UI junior Jaime Printy
“Road games are always tough, and knowing that Penn State has lost twice on their home court in Big Ten play is huge for us,” said junior Jaime Printy, who is leading the Hawkeyes with an 18.1 scoring average. “We’ve got to go in there knowing that we can do the same thing.”
The Hawkeyes have to contend with a talented trio of Lady Lion guards led by Maggie Lucas, who is leading the team and ranks second in the conference with a 20.3 scoring average. Alex Bentley and Zhaque Gray average 14.7 and 11.2 points, while 6-foot-4 center Nikki Greene averages 9.5 points and 7.9 rebounds.
“Penn State is an extremely fast team, great transition offense,” said Bluder. “They’ve got a great shooter in Maggie Lucas — a tremendous 3-point shooter — and a very good point guard in Alex Bentley.
“They have a nice inside-outside game as well. I think they’re offense is pretty good.”
Iowa has lost its last two meetings in State College, falling 68-59 last season and 77-73 in overtime in 2009-10. The Hawkeyes’ last win at Penn State came during the 2008-09 season.
The backcourt duo of Jaime Printy and Kamille Wahlin has stepped up their point production for the Hawkeyes as of late. The pair accounted for 40 of Iowa’s 69 points in the win over the Badgers, and the duo is averaging 34 points combined over the past seven contests.
“They’ve played together for so long now,” said Bluder. “They really enjoy playing together — you can tell that. They feed off each other and know the offense well. They know each other, when they’re going to cut, and they look for each other. It’s a fun duo to watch.”
Sophomore Theiarra Taylor has seen her playing time increase following the injury to freshman Melissa Dixon. Taylor, who had three ACL surgeries over a span of 20 months from 2009-11, is averaging 10.6 minutes per game in Big Ten play.
“She’s getting more confidence with the more minutes she’s playing,” said Bluder. “She feels like now she belongs on the floor instead of getting some kind of scrap minutes. She really understands that she’s a big part of what’s going on.”
Sunday’s game will be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 2 p.m.