Hawkeyes Have Unfinished Business

Jan. 31, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Following its 59-47 victory over 13th-ranked Purdue, the University of Iowa women’s basketball team turns its focus to unfinished business on the road.

“It’s really important, not only that we got a top-25 win, but we got a win before going on the road for two games,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder at her weekly press conference Tuesday in the Media Room inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We’ve got that good win, but now we have a lot of unfinished business we need to take care of.”

Iowa’s unfinished business begins on the road in Madison, Wis., on Thursday night as the Hawkeyes face Wisconsin at the Kohl Center.

“We’re going into a situation at Wisconsin where they’re playing their best basketball of the year,” said Bluder. “They’ve won three in a row since losing to us here.”

“We have been in every game, but for some reason we can’t pull it out in the end. These are two really good opportunities for us to get two road wins and build our confidence back up on the road.”
UI junior Jaime Printy

The Hawkeyes downed the Badgers, 69-57, on Jan. 19 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Since then, Wisconsin has reeled off victories over Northwestern (75-55), at Minnesota (78-72) and Michigan (66-60) to improve its record to 8-13 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play.

“They look like they’re playing very loose and confidently,” said Bluder. “It seems like they’re having a lot of fun playing this year, and they’re playing much more confidently than their record indicates.”

Iowa has won nine straight over Wisconsin in the series, which includes three victories in Madison. The Hawkeyes haven’t fared well on the road this season, winning only one of eight road games.

“We’ve struggled on the road, but when you think of where we played, you also have to look at that too,” said Bluder. “We have had some good success at the Kohl Center, and that gives our players a little more confidence knowing they have won in that environment before.”

“We have been in every game, but for some reason we can’t pull it out in the end,” said junior Jaime Printy, who paces the Hawkeyes with a 17.3 scoring average. “These are two really good opportunities for us to get two road wins and build our confidence back up on the road.”

In the victory over the Boilermakers, the Hawkeyes got a big spark off the bench from freshman Virginia Johnson. The forward finished with six points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. Bluder says Johnson provides Iowa a different dimension.

“She’s a different style of player than what we have as far as being able to get up around the rim and be explosive off the dribble,” said Bluder. “She’s hard to guard because of that.”

“She’s so athletic, in practice we’ll throw a terrible pass and she’ll come up with it and finish,” said Printy. “She brings a whole different aspect to our team athleticism and being able to get out and run.”

Printy’s 3-point field goal percentage has dipped to 29.1 percent (43-of-148), but that doesn’t mean Bluder has any less confidence in her junior guard.

“At any time, I feel like she can turn into a 50 percent 3-point shooter,” said Bluder. “Even though she’s not shooting as well as she did last year or the year before from 3-point range, people are still respecting her and still worried about her. They’re still putting their defense around her because they know how dangerous she can be.

“Every coach in this league knows that at any time Jaime Printy can have 25 or 30 against them and shoot well from 3-point range.”

Bluder wouldn’t give a hard number in terms of where she thinks the Hawkeyes need to get in terms of wins for an NCAA selection, but she touched on what she thought Iowa’s resume needed to look like.

“You need to be in the 40s in RPI, in my opinion,” she said. “I think you have to have a winning record in your conference season. Those are the two things that we need to strive for at this point.”

“Every year I’ve been here we’ve done really well down the stretch,” said Printy. “Us upperclassmen know that and know what’s on the line and what has to be done. We’re definitely ready for it.”

Thursday’s game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CT). The game will be streamed live on hawkeyesports.com via the BTN Digital Network. Hawkeye All-Access subscribers can watch the live video stream at no extra charge.