Dec. 22, 2010
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!
COACH BLUDER: One of our goals was to win the state championship this year. It feels good to finally do it because we've been talking about it for a long time. I'm really proud of our women and how we competed in the non conference season. Coming out of here 12 1 is pretty good. Tonight's game, I thought the first half we executed very well. I thought we shot the ball well. We rebounded well. I thought we did a really nice job. The second half, we didn't shoot as well as we were the first half. We weren't getting into the paint. First half we got into the paint a lot, 16 paint points. Second half only 8 paint points. I think you can see the difference in the percentage of shots we were taking that maybe weren't as good of percentage shots. I thought, again, UNI played extremely well, battled back. Their defense intensified the second half, like you know it's going to. These are emotional in state games. You should get everybody's best shot. I think UNI did a really nice job tonight. Kamille Wahlin the first half I thought was outstanding. Jaime is one point away from her personal best. It's pretty fun to watch her go to the hoop. I think she does a beautiful job of taking the ball to the hoop. She's hard to guard. You have to stay out on the three point shot, as well. She did a really nice job tonight.
Q. With three games in five days, did you hit the wall physically in the second half?
COACH BLUDER: I think personally maybe we did a little bit. I think really the last 8 minutes of this game was pretty tough on us 10 minutes of the game maybe. But we never really brought it up to them. I really don't like to make excuses. I don't like that. But I think you could see that we got a little bit fatigued. I think that's why some of our shots weren't hitting as well either.
Q. (Question regarding the three at 70 64.)
COACH BLUDER: I thought it was a big three. I thought it was an important three.
Q. Whether it was a wall or defense, the fact there were signs of faltering but a refusal to fail, that has to give you so much pride.
COACH BLUDER: I wish I would have said it so eloquently as you did (smiling). Since I didn't, you know, yeah, I think we hung in there really well. We've done that over and over again throughout this year. I mean, when things have gotten tough, it's like, Okay, it got tough, but let's go in there. We really have the confidence that we're going to pull it out. I think that can win you games. We really believe we're going to win. I know every team should. It's a good feeling on our team right now. Nobody panics. We are able to persevere through those times.
Q. Lisa, what about Draxten?
COACH BLUDER: Ankle sprain. I don't know that it's real severe. I'm hoping she'll be back for the Penn State game. I hope she'll be back for practice on the 27th.
Q. Can you talk about how Jamie's game has progressed from last season to this season.
COACH BLUDER: I think she's playing well right now. But I thought she was playing well in the Big Ten season last year, too. I mean, I just think, you know, with Jaime, I believe she's so hard to guard. How do you guard this kid? She can shoot from 22 feet if you're not in her face. If you're in her face, she's going to take it right around you. You foul her, she's going to make you pay at the free throw line. That's a really hard combination to defend. I think she's so strong going to the basket. She elevates, is able to get up closer to the rim. I think it's a beautiful move when she makes it.
Q. Is she even more of a play maker this season than a year ago?
COACH BLUDER: I feel like she's looking at her assists a little bit more. I feel like she's looking at that. At times maybe she's done that when she hasn't had the hot hand and not scored, she feels like, I'm going to get other people involved in the game. I think that's an understanding of going from high school to college, and going from freshman year to sophomore year. In high school, you had to do it all, you had to do a lot of it. When you get to college, it's like, Okay, I can distribute the ball, I can do other things that is going to make our team more balanced. I think that understanding has gotten a little bit better this year.
Q. Coach, you look at the national three point shooting percentage. You guys are way down the list this year. You still going to take those shots?
COACH BLUDER: Tonight we shot better. We shot 35 percent from three point range tonight. We shot better. I honestly believe they're going to go in. I don't think we're taking bad threes. I have so much faith in these players in making them. It's almost kind of weird for us. It's not like we're all nervous about it. It's just odd. To us, it's just a matter of time before it's going to happen. It's not if it's going to happen, it's when it's going to happen. We're going to break out. We really still have so much confidence in our shooters in shooting the three ball.
Q. Morgan was good at South Dakota State. She's had back to back subpar games. Just a hiccup? Any reason for concern?
COACH BLUDER: I think it's a hiccup, I really do. She had three blocks tonight. I don't think we got her the ball as well as we could have tonight. I think we missed some opportunities to give her the ball on the block. Sometimes when you don't get the ball as often, it's a little bit harder to shoot it. We need to do a better job of getting the ball inside to her because that can create some really nice action with our guards, too. But at the same time I'm not too concerned about it. I think Morgan is just going to be fine. That's the great thing about our team is that we are so balanced that Morgan can have a hiccup tonight, but guess what, these two are going to step up, or maybe the other way around at South Dakota State.
Q. Morgan's hiccup have anything to do with going against two of the best posts in the Valley?
COACH BLUDER: No, I don't think so. If you would see the North Carolina's posts. Jantel Lavender and Allyssa DeHaan last year, I don't think that was an issue at all.
Q. You mentioned some of the tough wins, confidence with the team. How much of a test has this non conference been and how well prepared do you feel for the Big Ten?
COACH BLUDER: I think it's been a great test. I think our RPI is fifth or sixth in the nation right now. That's a combination of your wins and who you played against. We've played against some pretty good people. That's how you prepare for the conference season. So I think we've done a good job preparing ourselves and playing a variety of opponents. I mean, these are all people that all played really differently when you look at some of the early teams we played, James Madison, North Carolina, Kansas State, Iowa State, now some of the Valley teams. We've played a different variety of people. I think that's good because it sets you up for anything you hopefully are going to see in the conference season.
Q. What do you feel like you have to work on over the next week?
COACH BLUDER: Well, I think we can continue to work on our execution of our offense. We've talked about the three point shooting. We can continue to work on that. We missed some opportunities to get the ball inside. I think we need to work on that. I'd like to work on our zone defense, to be quite honest. Last couple of games we tried a few possessions, not tonight, a few possessions of zone and it wasn't very good. We need to do better with that. There's plenty to work on (laughter).
Q. The last 10 minutes of the first half you went from even to up 19. Was that maybe the best stretch of basketball you've played this year?
COACH BLUDER: I thought it was very good. I mean, I really liked the way we played during that stretch. Even the last few seconds of the game, just trying to take advantage of every opportunity within that segment.
Q. Coach, is the light coming on for Kalli a little bit?
COACH BLUDER: She got 12 minutes tonight. She had three offensive boards in 12 minutes. That was nice to see. You know, I think Kalli has great potential for us. We have been talking about we need to get her more minutes. She's somebody that can make a difference for us coming off the bench in the Big Ten season. She's got great strength and size. She has the ability to post up or be outside. You know, I just think she has great potential. I was glad that we got her some more minutes tonight because we needed as a coaching staff to do a better job of that. Thank you, Merry Christmas, everybody.