Dec. 5, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Superstitions be gone.
Forget that the home team wearing light-colored uniforms has won the last five meetings — and 10 of the last 11 — in the annual Iowa-Iowa State women’s basketball Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. When the teams get together for a 43rd time Thursday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the host Hawkeyes will be decked out in road black.
It’s part of being active participants in a “Blackout” event staged by the UI Marketing Department. University of Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said Thursday will be the first time her team has worn black uniforms at home.
“It’s Blackout, and I hope our fans have the word out to wear black, otherwise they will come in here wondering what is going on,” Bluder said Wednesday at a news conference in the Media Room in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We are trying to get involved in that. We are trying to be a part of the Blackout by wearing black.”
Iowa players, specifically senior guard Jaime Printy, are on-board with the twist in uniform color.
“It will be cool,” Printy said. “Our coaches talked to us a little bit about it. They have been promoting the Blackout, so hopefully everyone participates. It will be nice.”
It will be the second of three straight intrastate games for the Hawkeyes, who defeated Northern Iowa 68-46 on Sunday. Iowa is 6-3 overall, Iowa State enters the game 5-0 and ranked No. 22 in The Associated Press poll.
The Hawkeyes have already played three of the top 26 teams: North Carolina (21), Florida State (24) and West Virginia (26).
“It’s Blackout, and I hope our fans have the word out to wear black, otherwise they will come in here wondering what is going on. We are trying to get involved in that. We are trying to be a part of the Blackout by wearing black.”
UI head basketball coach
“We have had physical games, we have had every type of defense thrown at us,” Printy said. “We have played a lot of good teams and that will help us play Iowa State.”
“I do think we have played a more challenging schedule,” Bluder said. “They have not played any true road games yet. This will be a first road game for them. But, they are a very, very good basketball team.”
There are six native Iowans on the Cyclone roster, three for the Hawkeyes. Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly has been in Ames since 1995, Bluder has been at the UI since 2000.
“Any time there is a rivalry, the energy is up and the crowd will be up for it,” UI sophomore guard Samantha Logic said. “We’re ready to play.”
Logic expects and embraces a potentially physical game, especially since the starting Cyclone front-court stands 6-foot-7, 6-3, and 6-2.
“I love it,” Logic says of playing physical basketball. “As a team we need to be prepared for it and not back down. You have to be strong with the ball and you have to be ready to take contact.”
The Hawkeyes have won the last two meetings in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and both times Iowa State was nationally ranked. Iowa won 62-40 in 2010 when the Cyclones were rated No. 15, and Iowa won 66-46 in 2008 when the Cyclones were rated No. 22.
Still, Bluder joked that she doesn’t receive any comfort knowing the history of home-team success in this rivalry.
“I don’t take any comfort in it, I wish I did,” Bluder said. “Do I love playing at home? Absolutely. We love playing in Carver Hawkeye arena. It’s a great place to play, our fans are wonderful, and I think that is what has helped so much in this home court is that both teams have really good fan support. Both teams have enjoyed playing on their home court and respond well to playing on their home courts, but does it mean an automatic W? I wish. I know, and I’m smarter than that.”
Tip-off on Thursday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (CT); fans are encouraged to wear black. The game will be televised live to a national audience on BTN with Lisa Byington, Mary Murphy and Shelley Till calling the action.