It's Business as Usual on Thursday

Feb. 27, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It will be business as usual for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team Thursday night against Indiana, even with the emotion surrounding Senior Night.

The Hawkeyes host the Hoosiers at 7 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The team will recognize seniors Morgan Johnson, Trisha Nesbitt, and Jaime Printy following the contest.

“This group is very important to me,” Bluder said Wednesday at a news conference in the Media Room inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “I am going to save my emotions until the team banquet, so it’s business at hand Thursday night.”

The game against the Hoosiers opens an important week for the Hawkeyes. Iowa closes the regular season March 3 at Northwestern.

“It’s hard to believe this is our last week of the regular season,” said Bluder. “These are two very important games for us. We have an opportunity to go .500 in conference and get to 19 wins, which would be really big for us for postseason play.”

“It’s a very emotional thing to see them leave, but you’re also proud of what they accomplished and proud of what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder

Indiana brings a record of 11-16 overall and 2-12 in the Big Ten into Iowa City. The Hoosiers have lost 11 of their last 12 games with the victory coming against No. 22 Purdue, 62-61, on Feb. 20.

“They are playing better now than they were earlier in the year,” said Bluder. “There are a lot of seniors on (Indiana’s) basketball team, so they’re playing their best basketball of their careers.”

Bluder spent a majority of the news conference talking about the careers of Iowa’s three seniors.

“Jaime’s first two years were phenomenal, then having to deal with the ACL injury and coming back from that injury. That’s been a tough situation, and to see her mature as a person through all of that has been really rewarding.

“Trisha has embraced being a team captain and our team looks up to her. She has the most say of the three captains and has made the most impact. She is a great example of continuing to work hard even if you don’t get the reward (of playing time).

“Morgan is a player that doubted if she was good enough to be playing at the BCS level, to becoming an All-Big Ten player and one of the top players in the country in field goal percentage and blocks. It was an amazing accomplishment for Morgan of where she came from to where she is now.”

With the relationships the coaching staff has built with the seniors, Bluder says it is bittersweet seeing the senior class move on.

“You don’t understand how close you get with these players, you spend so much time with them,” she said. “They’re at your house, eating meals with you, and they’re around your children. It’s a very emotional thing to see them leave, but you’re also proud of what they accomplished and proud of what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.”

Bluder says she hopes the trio’s experience with the program has helped them grow.

“It’s gratifying and you hope their experience of being an Iowa Hawkeye has helped make it more rewarding for them,” she said. “I know it has, the things they learned being on this team is enormous in the production of the rest of their life.”