Nov. 8, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior guard Jaime Printy will not start, but is expected to play, Friday when the University of Iowa hosts Northern Illinois in a first-round WNIT matchup on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Printy suffered a hamstring injury seven days ago and did not see action during an 86-51 exhibition victory Nov. 4 against Quincy University. Sophomore Melissa Dixon stepped in for Printy against Quincy, and she will be asked to do the same against Northern Illinois.
If Dixon comes close to duplicating what she did in the exhibition, Hawkeye fans will be smiling..and yelling “three” at the top of their lungs. Dixon made seven 3-point field goals and scored 28 points Sunday.
“In all likelihood, (Jaime) won’t be starting tomorrow,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Thursday during a seven-minute teleconference. “She went in half-court situations (Thursday) for the first time, so I feel bringing her off the bench will be better for our team than having her in the starting lineup at this point. I anticipate her playing, but not starting.”
Even in the case of a game slanting quickly in favor of the Hawkeyes, Bluder still wants to get Printy on the court.
“In all likelihood, (Jaime) won’t be starting tomorrow. She went in half-court situations (Thursday) for the first time, so I feel bringing her off the bench will be better for our team than having her in the starting lineup at this point. I anticipate her playing, but not starting.”
UI head basketball coach
“I would like to play her just to get her some minutes and get confidence back and those sort of things,” Bluder said. “If we can play her, we’re going to play her.”
Northern Illinois was 14-17 last season; the Huskies defeated NAIA Indiana Wesleyan 45-42 on Nov. 5. The head coach at Northern Illinois is Kathi Bennett, daughter of former Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Dick Bennett.
“Kathi is her father’s daughter, there is no doubt about it,” Bluder said, referring to the Huskies’ defensive style. “They are a team that prides itself on defense and they do a very nice job of it. That’s what Kathi has always stressed, playing great defense; they play a player-to-player defense, they do a good job on the boards boxing out, so I anticipate that is exactly what we’ll see against Kathi’s team; we’re going to have to be patient. Offenses are always a little slower coming around than defenses, so we’re going to have to be patient, not rush things and work the ball for high-percentage shots because we’re not going to have them right away against a team like Northern Illinois.”
Bluder intends to utilize Iowa’s height advantage created by having senior center Morgan Johnson (6-foot-5) and sophomore forward Bethany Doolittle (6-4) in the starting lineup. In the exhibition, Johnson scored 12 points with nine rebounds and a blocked shot; Doolittle had eight points, four rebounds, and two blocks.
“This is a brand new experience for both of them to play on the floor together,” Bluder said. “For Bethany, it’s a big adjustment. Not only are you going into the starting lineup for the first time as a sophomore, but you’re changing positions for the first time in your life. She has the most to adapt to, but at the same time, we do feel we have a height advantage over Northern Illinois and we need to use that to our advantage.”
Bluder said she is comfortable playing up to 11 players, including newcomers Kali Peschel, Kathy Thomas. Claire Till, and Kayla Timmerman.
Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. (CT); tickets are $10 for adults with youth (18 and under) and UI students admitted free. The game will be televised live to a statewide audience on Mediacom, with Rob Brooks and Shelley Till calling the action.