Feb. 26, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder met with the media after the Hawkeyes beat Michigan, 79-71, in thier regular season finale Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
COACH BLUDER: This game was important to us for so many reasons. It was important because it assured us of the first round bye and finishing third in the conference and I guess we could actually tie for second in the conference if Ohio State loses to Nebraska.
When you think of where we were a month ago, to think that we are tied for second in this conference right now is amazing. And a large part of that is because of our seniors, and we wanted to win this game for our seniors. That was really important for us. Kamille, Kelly, Kalli, obviously in uniform this year, unfortunately Megan, Hannah, were not; but they still provided great leadership for us.
You know, Kamille has just been, our point guard, our steady, our just an incredible captain for us, and really happy for our seniors to be able to enjoy this win. It was important for us, it was our last home game, last time to play in Carver.
We wanted to send a big thank you to our amazing support we have had this year. I didn’t know where we were going to finish up; we were the 17th best attended team in the country coming into this game. We have had great support all year and just appreciate our fans so very, very much. They mean a lot to us.
The game today, Sam h a triple double; that’s hard to do, very, very hard to do, and only one turnover in that situation. We have four people in double figures. I love that; that we had a lot of people scoring.
The first half was crazy. I looked at the bench and said what is this, Loyola Marymount, but they are too young, they didn’t know what that was anymore. That was too long ago. Very happy with that win and looking forward to the Big Ten Tournament.
How would you explain this eight game streak?
COACH BLUDER: It’s been fun, it really has been, and I think we have really rode the momentum. We have enjoyed it. They have come to practice, focused, wanting to keep it going.
We had a pretty tough January schedule, though. And at the end of January, you know, kind of our coaches are sitting there thinking, you know, hey, we can do this. We can make the run. You kind of like don’t want to tell anybody because they are going to laugh at you at that point.
But I think this team always really believed it. I think when we were sitting there at the end of January, we looked at our schedule and we really felt as a team that we could do this.
Michigan came out hot you and got behind. Did you guys talk about anything, or was it just settling down?
COACH BLUDER: Well, they were settling down. We knew they could not keep up that kind of shooting percentage. They were shooting like 80 percent at one point when I looked at some stats sheet. It was a pretty high percentage, especially from three point range.
But, we also need to improve our defense, too. And you know, we wanted to play some zone, but we couldn’t. They were getting too many open shots in the zone in the first half. Second half, we were able to go back to it again. But I think we just intensified our defense a lot after the first ten minutes.
How do you keep this momentum going into Indianapolis now?
COACH BLUDER: It’s not that hard. When you’ve got an eight game win streak, your team is pretty excited to come to practice. They are pretty excited to put the uniform on again and go, especially now that we know what’s at stake.
It’s three games, now. It’s three games at the Big Ten tournament, and we’ll go one at a time. We are thinking that the first one is going to be against Nebraska or Northwestern. You know, Nebraska has gotten us twice, and we would love to play them again.
Sam had four straight double doubles, but what does it mean to get that triple double and transcend?
COACH BLUDER: A hard feat. People don’t understand how hard it is to get a triple double. That’s, what, the fourth one in the history of Iowa women’s basketball? And you think of the tradition of our program; and the great players that we have had go through our program; and to have her only be the fourth person that’s ever achieved that, it is a difficult feat.
You know, the points, you kind of expect. Sometimes you get the assists, but to get the assists and the rebounds is really, really difficult.