Jan. 28, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder fielded questions from the media after the Hawkeyes handed No. 13 Purdue its first conference loss of the season Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Well, I can’t tell you about a happy locker room that was and deserved it. I’m so happy for this group, because it’s been a tough January. You know, you play eight teams that are in the Top 25, we finally got one.
And it’s you get to so many games where it’s could of, should of, almost, and it wears on you. And sometimes that can defeat teams, and I guess I’m the most proud of my team because they didn’t let it defeat them. They kept coming back. They kept believing and I think that can just wear you down when you’re in those type of losses.
Tonight, I’m so proud of their effort. It’s funny, we won I think in three areas you probably wouldn’t have picked us a month ago to win on: Rebounds, defense and our bench.
I’m extremely happy for Virginia, coming in and playing that well. Theairra, nobody deserves it better, more than Theairra.
But you know, I’m just extremely happy for our team and we’re going to enjoy this one. We have not had a day off after a win in a long time, so we are going to enjoy this one.
Your offense was struggling until you put them in. What were they able to do? Seemed like they opened things up by driving to the basket.
COACH BLUDER: They are just so explosive and so is The. I think we were able to use that. They offensive rebounded really well also, but I think more than anything, it was just their explosiveness off the dribble.
Seemed like Morgan was able to get down there in the post; what was she able to do tonight that allowed her to be so successful.
COACH BLUDER: I don’t know that Morgan did anything unusual. That’s her game. She’s very effective on the block. She pins really well. She calls for the ball extremely well. I think our team understands that we need to get her the ball and they do a great job of feeding her the ball.
So she didn’t do anything unusual tonight. She kind of just played her normal game.
What was the key for your defense tonight?
COACH BLUDER: I thought we did a pretty good job of mixing up our defenses and keeping them off track.
I also thought the players we have a lot of respect for birdie and their shooters and identifying where they are and not letting them get the open looks.
KK Houser comes in here, she’s over 50 percent from three point range in conference play, goes 0 for 4. We know what Brittany Rayburn is able to do; Courtney Moses. I mean, they are all such good shooters, and I thought we did a really good job of making sure they didn’t feel comfortable in their shots.
How do you get your team to use this as a springboard for the rest of the season?
COACH BLUDER: We definitely need to grow off this win. You know, we are going to play two games in a row this week. We are playing at Wisconsin, a team that we already beat. That’s got to give us some good confidence, but they had two good wins last week, as well. And then going to Indiana, it’s our only time that we play Indiana this year.
So we understand what it’s like to play on the road now. We are not strangers to being on the road anymore. I think our freshmen understand what it’s like to play in a hostile environment.
But this win, you know, in my opinion, it’s going to really help us get through these two rode victories, two road games that we will hopefully make them into victories.
Does this also show your depth is getting better?
COACH BLUDER: I think so. I think it gives us a lot of confidence and their teammates and definitely the players a lot of confidence with the bench giving us 16 points tonight.
With the second half with the Big Ten
COACH BLUDER: No doubt. There’s absolutely no doubt. We are 4 5 in the Big Ten. So we definitely have to keep the nose to the grindstone, and we will remind them of that in practice on Tuesday. You know, this felt good. Let’s remember this feeling. Let’s keep it going. But no, we have to fight every single game and we understand that.
Even though you struggled more today, how important have free throws been for you guys so far this season?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, we were uncharacteristically poor shooting tonight from the free throw line. First half we just didn’t get there. Second half we finally got there, and we didn’t convert it the rate that we normally do. We came in here as the No. 1 free throw shooting team in the Big Ten, but our defense prevailed today. Our defense is what gave us this victory in the rebounds.
And so it wasn’t the best shooting night for us. And again, we couldn’t have won this type of game, I don’t think, a month ago, shooting like this, but now, you know, I think we are getting more and more confidence in our defense and our boards.