Another Giant Opportunity for the Hawkeyes
Jan. 13, 2011
PARDON OUR PROGRESS! As friends of the University of Iowa and fans of the Hawkeyes know, the UI Athletics Department is well into a multi-million dollar revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This important and exciting project has reduced for this season the number of ticket windows that are operational on game nights. Fans attending the home events of the 2010-11 UI men's basketball, women's basketball and wrestling teams are invited to avoid game night delays by purchasing their event tickets online or in advance of game day. If your schedule doesn't allow for an advance purchase, we recommend you consider arriving at the Arena a little earlier than originally planned. Go Hawks!
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Much has been made about the topsy-turvy Big Ten Conference women's basketball standings this season. But through the first two weeks -- and after three league games -- No. 9 Michigan State is still taking care of business.
The 16th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes can change that tonight (Thursday, Jan. 13) at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
"We're excited for the opportunity to play Michigan State, but at the same time we know it's a huge challenge," UI guard Kamille Wahlin said. "They're a big, physical team and we have to make sure that we're that much more focused going on the road. We have to learn to play on the road."
The Spartans are 15-1 overall, 3-0 in the Big Ten; Iowa is 14-3, 2-2. The Hawkeyes won both meetings last season: 77-66 in Iowa City on Feb. 7 and 59-54 at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis on March 6. Michigan State has won five in a row in East Lansing; Iowa last won at the Breslin Center on Feb. 1, 2004, by a score of 78-67.
It will be the Hawkeyes' second straight game against a top-20 team. They defeated No. 20 Ohio State, 89-76, on Jan. 8 and now hit the road to play a team that is on a 13-game winning streak.
"They're a great team. We know they're going to be really physical," UI guard Jaime Printy said. "They're undefeated in the conference, they're on a winning streak and then playing at their place will be a challenge."
The game puts Iowa in a role they haven't been in often this season: that of an underdog.
"We're so excited because now it's kind of us being the underdog," Printy said. "Knowing that they haven't been beaten in the conference gives us motivation in itself."
Iowa is 3-2 on the road this season and tonight's game could be the team's most difficult one away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena since a 79-67 loss at No. 14 North Carolina on Dec. 2.
"I do the Midwest regional ranking and I have them as the best team in the Big Ten right now," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said.
Bluder wouldn't get specific on where she thinks the Hawkeyes sit in the Midwest rankings, only to say they are "in the top 10."
Iowa made up for a shaky 0-2 start to the conference season (losses at Penn State and at home to Michigan) to rebound for wins at Minnesota on Jan. 5 (63-57) and at home against the Buckeyes on Jan. 8 (89-76). In those wins, the Hawkeyes shot 43.6 percent from the field (51 of 117) with 14 3-point field goals. Wahlin, Printy, Morgan Johnson and Kachine Alexander scored in double figures during both outings.
"You have to get up for every game in the Big Ten, no matter if they're in the top 20 or not," Alexander said. "Coach Bluder says we should always go into every game the same, so that will be our mentality."
The Spartans aren't the only team on a nice roll. Iowa has won two games in a row and seven of its last nine.