Jan. 14, 2010
By Richie Zawistowski
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Jaime Printy tied a career-high with 26 points, but the University of Iowa was not able to withstand a late Penn State run and fell in another close contest, 68-62, Thursday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa (8-9 overall, 1-5 Big Ten Conference) has battled in all of its games this season. Of the nine Hawkeye losses, six have been within six points or less.
"Well this one was a tough one for us to lose," said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. "We had the nine-point lead with nine and a half minutes to go and just couldn't hang on defensively. We've been in so many close games, and on your home court you need to win these games, and I think we let people down by not winning this game."
Printy started the game on the right foot for Iowa with a driving layup for the game's first two points 20 seconds in.
The first half was a defensive battle with both teams keeping the score close. Morgan Johnson had a huge swat sending Iowa into a fast break, however the Hawkeyes would come up empty handed with the half winding down. Iowa struggled in the transition game, losing 16-0 to Penn State (12-4, 4-2) in fast break points.
"They're a very good transition team, and the last time we played them I thought we kept them in check," said Bluder. "But this time we just weren't able to, but obviously we had a really hard time stopping them."
After a Penn State miss with 5.6 seconds remaining Bluder called a timeout to draw up a play. Iowa was unable to get a shot off however, as Kachine Alexander and Johnson could not handle a clean exchange under the basket as time expired. Iowa went into the break up by five, 29-24, as Iowa held Penn State to just 33.3-percent shooting (11-of-33).
Iowa came out of the break struggling a bit, and after a basket by Penn State fell behind by one, 35-34, with 14:14 left in the game. However Printy and Kelly Krei both fired and drilled consecutive deep balls to give Iowa a five-point cushion with12:49 remaining.
Seven straight points from Printy in a span of 63 seconds pushed the Iowa lead to 49-40 with 9:48 remaining, giving Iowa a comfortable margin.
"You have to know that teams are going to go on runs, but I really thought we were going to win that game," said Printy.
However, turnovers combined with a barrage of 3's got Penn State back into the game and eventually a two point lead, 51-49. With 7:02 left, Bluder called a timeout to regroup.
Krei would finally break a four-minute scoreless drought for Iowa and hit a 3 to cut the Iowa deficit to one, 53-52. Penn State would answer on their next trip down the floor with a three of their own though, and make the score 56-52.
Alexander had a tough offensive rebound and finish underneath with 4:45 remaining to make the score 56-54. Later after four consecutive free throws, Alexander drove the baseline hard with seconds remaining on the shot clock, only to drop it off to Johnson and have her miss the uncontested shot under the basket. Printy had a good look from deep that did not fall, and Penn State made Iowa pay with a layup on the other end making the score 62-58 in favor of Penn State with just 44 seconds remaining.
Bluder called a timeout with 39.1 to draw up a play, yet Wahlin dribbled the ball off her foot while driving to the basket, turning the ball over all but ending the hopes of a comeback.
"Well I think they need to think about this one for awhile tonight," said Bluder. "If you invest a lot in something, it hurts, and it should hurt until we get to practice tomorrow. But there's nothing wrong with being a little ticked off about this loss tonight."
Iowa will travel to West Lafayette to take on Purdue on Sunday, Jan 17. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m.