Oct. 25, 2012
B1G Basketball Media Day Photo Gallery
- Video interview with M. Johnson
- Video interview with J. Printy
- Video interview with Coach Bluder
- 2013 NCAA 1st and 2nd Round Information
- Order Iowa Women’s Basketball Tickets Online
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- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Many times during the University of Iowa’s run of five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, head coach Lisa Bluder turned to rookies at crucial times.
Morgan Johnson and Jaime Printy — now seniors — were two players the Hawkeyes relied on immediately in their careers. There won’t be a need to throw freshmen to the fire as early or often this season.
“I like the depth that we have on this team because in the past we haven’t had any,” Bluder said Thursday at Big Ten Media Day in the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. “Any depth is great depth for us. We are solid in every position with a backup, and that is something we haven’t had in the past. We won’t be relying on freshmen to carry us. In the past we have always, out of necessity, had a freshman entered into the starting lineup, and had to carry our team and show up big to begin with. This year I don’t think that will happen and I think that is good for our basketball team.”
Bluder’s squad returns eight letterwinners and four starters from a team that won 19 games a year ago. The loss of point guard Kamille Wahlin will be felt. Other coaches and the Big Ten media think so, too: the Hawkeyes are not one of the top three picks in the preseason poll.
“Kamille is a loss, it’s hard to replace that,” Bluder said. “(UI sophomore) Samantha Logic got better and better as the year went on last year. Over the summer she has developed more leadership skills; we have three seniors that are captains of this team (Johnson, Printy, Trisha Nesbitt); (Logic) is a leader on the floor and everybody around her knows that.”
Concerning the preseason predictions, Bluder said the Hawkeyes typically exceed early expectations, and not being projected among the top three teams serves as motivation for the players.
“Not often do you get an opportunity to bookend your seasons with hosting both types of tournaments. It is a great opportunity for our team and we have three tremendous seniors on our team that I would love to see them take full benefit of this.”
UI head basketball coach
“I think one and two are really solid in our league,” Bluder said of Penn State and Nebraska. “I think there are a bunch of us that could be three-through-, and I think we could be in the mix in that discussion.”
Johnson and Printy — the two Hawkeye women’s basketball representatives in Chicago — had productive offseasons: Johnson to become one of the most imposing inside forces in the league, and Printy to rehabilitate after an ACL repair.
“I am thrilled that I get to go to practice every day and Morgan Johnson is there,” Bluder said. “She is a presence inside. She brings a joy to practice every day that you don’t get, especially out of big girls. She is exuberant every day in practice, she brings a joy and level of effort that our freshmen need to learn from.”
One of the highlights of Iowa’s practice Wednesday in Iowa City was when Printy hit the deck — in a good way — by drawing a charge.
“She is doing very well. She has had a great summer of rehabbing and she is doing almost everything in practice at this time,” Bluder said. “Yesterday she took a charge against a guy in practice and I just smiled at her, because that is another hurdle. Every day you go through those hurdles and you learn that your knee is OK, and can take those things, that is most of the battle is the mental part of it.”
Iowa opens the season with a home game Nov. 9 in the preseason WNIT Tournament; Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a host site for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament on March 24 and 26.
“Not often do you get an opportunity to bookend your seasons with hosting both types of tournaments,” Bluder said. “It is a great opportunity for our team and we have three tremendous seniors on our team that I would love to see them take full benefit of this.”
Between Jan. 3 and March 10, the Hawkeyes will battle in the Big Ten — one of the toughest conferences in the country.
“There are no easy teams in the Big Ten. There are no games that you can automatically say, `Oh, that’s going to be a W,'” Bluder said. “There are too good of coaches in this league, there are too good of athletes in this league we have some great home court advantages so going on the road is difficult in this league and I think that is the difference.”