Dec. 1, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More times than not, you never know what you're going to get when two intrastate rivals hook up on the hardwood. That's what happened Saturday afternoon when the Northern Iowa Panthers visited Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a date with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
For awhile, the 6,368 in attendance were probably getting what they thought they would: A comfortable win by the home team. Then, just before halftime, the visiting team made it appear otherwise. However, in the final 20, the Hawkeyes put it into another gear and ran to a 68-46 victory, a win that pushed Bluder's Bunch to 6-3 thus far in 2012-12. The loss dropped Northern Iowa to 3-4.
Iowa used an 18-8 run that started with Bethany Doolittle's layup with 8:12 left to play to take a 10-point game at 48-38 to 66-46 when Jaime Printy dropped a pair of free throws with 60 ticks left in the game.
Morgan Johnson paced the Hawkeyes with a double-double: 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 12 rebounds. Samantha Logic added 15 points and Printy another nine for the winners. Brook Brown paced UNI with 12 points.
"On the offensive side, we have Morgan Johnson. That makes life pretty easy as a coach when you have somebody like her. She's such a good target and she has such beautiful hands that the players have a lot of confidence passing her the ball," Bluder said of her senior center.
"People try double teaming her. They try hanging around. They set screens for it, and it doesn't matter. But I think our team is doing a very good job of getting the ball up high, letting her hang on to it. Defensively that's our goal, to keep people out of the paint."
Iowa won this game on the boards where it built a commanding 43-31 advantage and in the paint where the Hawkeyes outscored the Panthers 34-4.
Bluder's Bunch plodded its way to a 30-24 lead at intermission thanks to an 11-point, 8-rebound effort from Johnson and seven points from Printy, who also was credited with four assists.
Iowa took its first lead at 4-3 when Logic scored her only points of the session off a jumper a little over two minutes into the game. Johnson extended the lead to 7-3 a minute later on a layup and a free throw. The Hawkeyes' post gave the home team a 10-3 margin with 13:50 left to play on layin off a nice feed from Thierra Taylor.
Iowa's lead eventually reached double-digits at 30-20 when Johnson dropped another layup with 1:25 left on the clock. Northern Iowa scored the final four points of the half to trim the margin to six.
Iowa returns to action Thursday when the Hawkeyes entertain its second intrastate rival in a row, Iowa State, in the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series event.
"Our players haven't had a day off on a Sunday for the whole month of November. For them not to have classes or basketball practice for a day, or a game, I think mentally they need that," Bluder said.
"Then having three days to prepare for Iowa State is not a luxury we've had since the Northern Illinois opener. It will be nice to be able to spend some time in practice preparing for our opponent, but also working on some things to make ourselves better."
Tipoff time on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network.