During the season, Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder will provide weekly insight to the doings around the women's basketball program. Check back here each week to see what's on the mind of Coach Bluder.
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To steal the slogan from the Big Ten Tournament last week, "March is on!"
Our team had a terrific weekend in Indianapolis, advancing to the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament. We started off with a great win over No. 6 seed Penn State. Kelly Krei had a big game for us, scoring 20 points. Jaime Printy led us is in scoring with 22 points. It was so fun to celebrate with our team in the locker room after the game. The team even convinced me to do a dance move or two with them, and the Big Ten Network captured it on camera! Let's just say I'm not as gifted as some of our players when it comes to dancing.
We took on No. 2 seed Michigan State the next day, and won a very physical contest. I was so proud of the way our team took hit after hit, but kept coming back. You could see the fight and determination in the players' eyes. They were not going to be denied a chance to win the Big Ten Tournament championship. Once again, our locker room was pretty crazy after the victory!
We came up a little short in the championship, falling to No. 1 seed and 10th-ranked Ohio State by just two points. It was a tough loss for the team to take because we were so close to coming away with a championship. I think the team's maturity showed in the loss, because everyone is using the game as motivation for post-season play and for next year's Big Ten Tournament.
I would also like to congratulate Kamille Wahlin, Kelly Krei and Kachine Alexander for making the Big Ten Tournament all-tournament team. All three players were very deserving of the honor.
Now we have to wait until Monday for the NCAA selection show. I feel our Big Ten Tournament run helped solidify our case to be included in the field of 64. We have a solid RPI and strength of schedule and we also finished the season very strong. We will get together and watch the selection show as a team, and hopefully be doing some more dance moves to celebrate!
Thanks to all the fans that supported us, not only in Indianapolis, but across the country. I'm amazed at all the e-mails and phone calls our staff has received over the past few weeks. Your continued support and kind words really do fuel both the coaches and players in practice and in games. Hawkeye fans are second to none, and we really do appreciate everything you do for us!
I can't believe March is here already! This is such an exciting time in the world of women's basketball. Post-season play is something everyone associated with our program looks forward to.
Once again, a big thank you to the bus loads of fans that traveled to Madison Sunday for our game. Wisconsin had a great crowd for Senior Day, with over 11,000 people in attendance. But, it was so great to have the entire section behind our bench painted Black and Gold! I've heard our players say it all year, but the excitement and energy from our fans really helps this young team during crunch time. They really feed off the crowd, so thank you again for taking your time and hard-earned money to support the Hawkeyes.
We had two great wins last week that helped us wrap up third place in the Big Ten and the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. It's so nice having that first round bye, and playing an opponent that has already played one game. We are looking forward to the Big Ten Tournament, and hoping we can go on a run!
I'd also like to congratulate our players who earned all-Big Ten awards. Jaime Printy was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, along with second team all-Big Ten by the media, third team all-Big Ten by the coaches and was a unanimous pick for the all-Freshman Team. Kachine Alexander was first team all-Big Ten by the coaches, and was second team by the media. Kash was also one of five players named to the all-Defensive team. Also, Kamille Wahlin was third team all-Big Ten by both the coaches and media.
It's pretty special that our entire backcourt earned all-Big Ten honors. I know our players are pretty quick to shy away from individual attention, but I am very proud to have such a great presence on the all-Big Ten teams.
I hope everyone will be able to follow us in one way or another in Indianapolis. Our game Friday will start between 12:30 and 1 p.m. (25 minutes after the first game of the day). You can watch it live on the Big Ten Network (in HD), or listen to the game on the Hawkeye Radio Network. If you aren't near a radio, you can subscribe and listen to us online at hawkeyesports.com, or pull up the Gametracker link.
Thanks again to all our amazing fans. We are hoping to bring back a few more wins for you in Indy!
I hope everyone is doing well after yet another snowfall here in Eastern Iowa. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to see some green grass instead of white snow! Our bus trip back from Evanston yesterday took a little longer than expected with the road conditions, but we made it home safely.
I'd like to thank all the fans who traveled to Evanston yesterday. We had an amazing crowd on hand, and wish we could have sent you home with a win. Give credit to Northwestern, they just played better than us yesterday. They shot the ball well from outside, and used their size in the paint to their advantage. We took a lot from this loss, and our players are eager to get back to practice.
We did pick up a nice win last Thursday over a talented Minnesota team. Morgan Johnson set a new school and Carver-Hawkeye Arena records with eight blocks! She does such a nice job of using her wing span to her advantage. She never swings when she blocks shots. Morgan simply goes straight up, and makes it difficult for opponents to score. Congrats to Morgan!
We have two games left in the regular season, and they are both extremely important. Not only are we playing for seeding in the Big Ten Tournament, we are playing for a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. We feel with two wins to close the regular season, along with a solid run in the Big Ten Tournament, we could play our way into an at-large bid. Our players are excited about the opportunity for post-season play, but understand we need to take it one game at a time.
Next up is Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Thursday night. It's "Senior Night," and we will be honoring JoAnn Hamlin. JoAnn's story has been well documented this year, and we are so thankful to have her on this team. I hope you can make it to Carver Thursday night to help us honor JoAnn, and to cheer us on to a victory!
After Thursday, we travel to Wisconsin for the regular season finale. Georgia Johnson has once again organized bus trips for fans interested in watching us in Madison. You can call Georgia at (319) 480-6020, or at (319) 480-9878 to reserve a seat. It's only $35, and that includes a game ticket!
We hope to see you at Carver Thursday, in Madison on Sunday or better yet, at both games!
I hope everyone had a great weekend, and it was awesome to see so many of you at Carver-Hawkeye Arena yesterday. We had an amazing crowd on hand for Valentine's Day, and our team is so appreciative of our loyal fan base. You really helped us yesterday in the final minutes against Illinois!
Our team is on a little bit of a roll right now, winning six of our last seven games, with the only loss coming by four points at conference-leader Ohio State. We've climbed all the way to fifth place in the Big Ten standings, and are close to moving up to fourth. I can't say enough about the fight and determination of this team. We have come a long way in the last month and we are anxious to finish these final four regular season games on a high note!
Congratulations to Kachine and Jaime for their Big Ten honors. Kachine was named Big Ten Player of the Week, and Jaime was named conference Freshman of the Week for the fourth time. They both deserve the recognition after the way they played last week. Jaime took over in the second half against Indiana, scoring 14-straight points. Kachine had a double-double in the first half against Indiana! That is just amazing, and speaks to how hard she works at rebounding.
Kachine had another great game Sunday against Illinois, setting school and Carver-Hawkeye Arena records for free throws made (17) and attempted (20). Her 17 made free throws were also a record for a Big Ten game. She does a great job getting herself to the free throw line, and has improved her shot from the line. Jaime scored 17 points against Illinois and helped us sprint out to our biggest halftime lead of the season.
We would love to see another great crowd on hand Thursday when we host Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. We lost a tough overtime game at Minnesota earlier in the season and know it will be a hard-fought game. Our players always comment on how much the fans help fire them up before and during games. Come out and support our team, as we only have two home games left this season! If you can't make it to the game Thursday, it will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
Once again, it's always nice to write you after a big victory. The team performed very well against a tough and physical Michigan State team Sunday. A big thanks to all the fans that braved the weather and sacrificed some Super Bowl viewing to come out and support us. We love our fans and it's always great to give you a win!
I thought two big keys to Sunday's win were rebounding and free throws. We out-rebounded a much taller team by 10, led by Kachine Alexander, who had 10 boards. We also converted 20 of our 23 free throw attempts. Kash made all six of her free throws in the final minute of the game, which was crucial down the stretch.
I also love to see our box score after a4 game when we have so many players score double figures. All five starters scored at least 10 points, and we are 9-0 this year when we have four or more players score double figures. It makes us difficult to guard when we have five players who can score from almost anywhere on the court.
Last Thursday at Ohio State was a tough loss for our team, but you can't fault the effort. We led for most of the game, which is tough to do at Value City Arena. Our team wasn't intimidated playing the No. 8 team in the country and Jaime Printy played a terrific game. It would have been really nice to come away with the road win, but it was a great experience for our team to go through.
Next up for us is another road trip, this time to Indiana Thursday night. Hopefully this winter weather will subside in time for us to leave town after practice Wednesday evening. After Thursday, we host Illinois Sunday at 2 p.m. It would be great to have another outstanding crowd on hand when the Fighting Illini comes to town!
We are heading down the final stretch of games, so each matchup is important. The Big Ten is extremely close this year, and every win helps us move up in the conference.
Thanks and, as always, Go Hawks!
First off, I want to thank all the fans that turned out for our game against Purdue. A big thank you to all the Girl Scouts in attendance! It was great to see such an amazing, vocal crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena yesterday. I can't get the chant of "Thin Mints" out of my head!
Sunday was a great day for our team. We struggled the last time we played Purdue, and it felt great to come away with an impressive win against a very talented team. We had so many players perform at a high level. It's hard to single out one individual, especially when you have five players score double figures. I thought we rebounded very well, and took care of the basketball against a team that is known for its pressure defense.
Also, I would like to congratulate Morgan Johnson for being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week! She played extremely well against Purdue, making her first seven shots. She certainly deserves the award, and I am thrilled with how she played Sunday.
The team is in great spirits after winning three-straight games. It's always fun to win and our young team is enjoying the winning streak. We took Monday off of practice, but will be back to work Tuesday.
Next up is Ohio State. They are ranked in the top 10 and will be a very tough challenge, especially playing in Columbus. The game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network, so be sure to tune in!
Thanks and Go Hawks!
It's great to talk to you after two-straight wins by our team! We started the week with our first road win in Big Ten play, knocking off Illinois in Champaign. We then returned home to face a much improved Northwestern team Sunday, and came away with another win.
We couldn't be happier riding a two-game winning streak into our final "bye" week. We are off this Thursday, which gives us some extra time to rest and recharge our batteries. The Big Ten season is a grind, especially with such a young team. I keep saying how impressed I am with our underclassmen, and my opinion hasn't changed. We have a great amount of young talent on the team, and they are maturing with each game.
Freshman Jaime Printy had two impressive outings for us last week. She scored 22 points at Illinois, and followed with 23 points against Northwestern. Jaime is scoring from everywhere on the court; she can hit the three-pointer, penetrate and score off layups and she is a phenomenal free throw shooter. She plays with such a presence on the court, and it's great to have that out of a freshman.
The attitude around Carver-Hawkeye Arena has been great over the past 10 days. Our men's basketball team has won three of its last four games, and we are all impressed at the progress that team is making, as well. They are a fun group to watch, and we wish Coach Lickliter and his team continued success throughout the Big Ten season. It's also been fun watching our national champion wrestling team continue their path towards "domination," as Coach Brands says. That team is a great example of how to win, and we are confident they will be making some "March Madness" of their own!
Once again, I'd like to invite everyone out to Carver this Sunday for our game against Purdue at 2 p.m. It's "Pack the House" night, and we are hoping for a huge crowd! I can't tell you how much of a difference the fans make in our arena. You can just feel the momentum swing when the Carver faithful start to cheer! Thanks to all the fans who have attended games so far this season, and hope to see everyone this Sunday!
It's been a while since we last communicated, and things have been pretty busy for our women's basketball team. We have been through a lot, as a team, this season, with three of our student-athletes suffering season-ending injuries.
By now, everyone has heard about JoAnn Hamlin and her blood clot issue. JoAnn is doing well and her rehab is going great. She is able to lift weights and run, but has to stay away from any contact. I joked with JoAnn the other day that I almost wish she was in some sort of cast, because then I could physically see she was unable to play. She looks great, physically, but has to avoid all contact while on blood thinners. It's a tough situation, but we are very proud of how she has handled things.
Over the last month, we have lost two more important members of our team to season-ending injuries, as well. Freshman Theairra Taylor had worked her way into the starting lineup, but suffered a knee injury in our win over South Dakota State. Theairra had surgery and is currently rehabbing her knee, and we can't wait to get her back on the court next season. She is a quick, strong and athletic player for us.
We also lost sophomore Hannah Draxten for the year. She entered the season with some back issues, but showed a lot of toughness and tried to get on the court for us. She even managed to see action in four games, but the pain was too much for her to handle. I can't say enough about her toughness. While in pain, she still managed to practice and play before it got to be too much. Hannah will redshirt this year and we are also anxious for her to be back in 2010-11.
Even though our record doesn't show it, we have been a very competitive team in Big Ten play. We are 1-6 in the league, but two of those losses came in overtime, and one more was only by three points. We also let a late lead against Penn State slip away at the end. Closing out games has been a challenge for our young team, and we are working hard in practice to make sure that starts to happen.
This team has been a great group of student-athletes to coach so far this season. They come to practice every day ready to work hard, and have kept their heads up even through this tough stretch of Big Ten games.
I'd also like to send a quick congratulations to both Coach Ferentz on the great FedEx Orange Bowl victory, and to Coach Lickliter for a great win over Penn State last weekend. The entire team was huddled around a laptop listening to Gary Dolphin call the action down the stretch as the men's basketball team knocked off the Nittany Lions (we were on our way to Purdue). I know our student-athletes enjoy attending men's basketball games, and they are a fun group of players to watch.
Lastly, I'd like to invite everyone out to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to us play! We host two-straight home games, starting this Sunday at 4 p.m. against Northwestern. The following Sunday (Jan. 31), we host Purdue at 2 p.m., and that game will be televised live to national audience on ESPN2. We want to "Pack the House" against Purdue, and fill our arena so it looks great on national TV!
Thanks and Go Hawks!
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, full of too much turkey and quality family time. Our team had a great trip to Reno for the Nugget Classic, hosted by the University of Nevada.
We went 1-1 in Reno, losing a tough game to a very athletic West Virginia team, but bounced back to win a thrilling game against Columbia. Jaime Printy hit a three-pointer to tie the game with under one minute to play, and Kamille Wahlin gave us the win with a three-pointer with only 10 seconds left. I thought our team did a great job of executing the final play to get the lead, and played great defense to preserve the win. Kamille was named to the all-tournament team, making it her second all-tournament team award this year. Congrats Kamille!
On Thanksgiving Day, we took the team to the Heavenly Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe. We didn't strap on any skis, but the team rode a gondola to the top of the mountain, and took in the breathtaking sights of Lake Tahoe. I think the team really enjoyed the view from the observation deck, and even posed for some pictures with the local snowboarders. We had a really fun afternoon spending time together as a team at Lake Tahoe. If you've never been there, I suggest making the trip. What a gorgeous place!
We got back to the hotel in time for the wonderful Thanksgiving buffet the Nugget Hotel put on for the teams staying at the hotel. They had all the traditional food, with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing. We were able to talk with the other teams staying at the hotel, and had a nice Thanksgiving together as a team.
We returned home late Sunday, and had a very short time to prepare for Boston College in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Even though we lost, I thought our team fought hard for the entire 40 minutes. Boston College returned all five starters, but our freshmen and sophomores battled against their juniors and seniors, and almost came away with the win.
Our final game of this tough stretch was Sunday night against Michigan, which turned out to be another hard-fought loss. Once again, our team didn't give up after falling behind early, and had a chance to win at the end. Unfortunately, some shots didn't fall, and Michigan escaped with the win. This game marks the second time we have lost by only three points, and the third time we lost by less than six points. It just shows how important it is to convert possessions during the game, because one more offensive rebound or forced turnover could be a difference in those types of games. But, I have complete confidence that our young team will continue to grow and learn how to finish close games like that.
Now, we step back out of conference play, and will face Iowa State Thursday. It's always tough playing in Ames, and in-state rivals always present a challenge. We will do our best to bring home two points for the Hawkeyes in the annual Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series.
Thanks, and until next time, GO HAWKS!
We have played two games since the last time we communicated, and we are 3-1 on the season.
Last Wednesday, we played a very tough, athletic Kansas team that came to Iowa City as the 19th-ranked team in the country. Even though we lost, I was very proud of the way our team fought the entire game. We just ran out of gas at the end, and Kansas played well down the stretch. They are a very talented team that will do good things in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament this season.
We learned on Friday that Kachine has a stress fracture in her leg, and will miss at least a month of action. This was very hard news to take, especially with all the other injuries we have had to overcome this year. Kachine is one of our leaders, both statistically and emotionally. She is one of the most exciting players to watch in the Big Ten, and we are going to miss having her on the court.
With that being said, I thought our team did a great job coming away with a win at Northern Iowa Sunday. It was great to see Theairra and Gabby back on the court after they had some injury setbacks. Like I've said all season, our freshmen aren't playing like rookies. Three of our four leading scorers at Northern Iowa were freshmen. And, what can you say about Kamille's performance? To come away with 33 points in any game is an impressive accomplishment. She was on fire in the second half, and hit a couple three pointers that were WAY beyond the line. Also, Morgan Johnson tied a school record by blocking seven shots in the game! She played a great game, defensively, for us.
Now, our focus shifts to William & Mary, who we host Tuesday night. They will be another tough opponent for us. Then, we head to Reno for our annual Thanksgiving tournament. We will face West Virginia, and then either Columbia or Nevada. All three teams are loaded with talent, and playing on the road is always a challenge. But, the team is looking forward to spending some time together over the holiday. It's always great to watch the team come together on these trips. Our team is like a family, and they really care about each other.
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, and be sure to follow us out in Reno on hawkeyesports.com!
Welcome back to another year of Iowa women's basketball! We couldn't be more excited to have the season underway.
It's been a very emotional start to the season, with all the injuries we have gone through. Obviously, not having our only senior, JoAnn Hamlin, is a big loss. We are constantly thinking about her, and the players and coaches have spent a lot of time over at the hospital trying to keep her in good spirits. To get a blood clot in your leg like that at such a young age is a tough thing to go through, but JoAnn has been positive during the entire process, and we can't wait for her to get out of the hospital and back on the bench supporting the team.
We've had to play short-handed the past few weeks, with three other players picking up injuries. But, our team has done a nice job of responding, and it's great to see our team coming together as a family.
But enough about injuries. We opened the season last weekend by hosting the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge, and came away with the tournament championship! Congratulations to Kamille Wahlin and Kachine Alexander on being named to the all-tournament team. Kachine was also named co-Big Ten Player of the Week and tournament MVP after putting up a double-double in both games! Like I've said before, Kachine is one of the most exciting players to watch in the Big Ten. She has the ability to get to almost every loose ball, and her hustle is hard to match.
It was great to see our team on the court in an "official" game last weekend. I thought our freshmen played at a high level, and didn't play like rookies. We had players log a lot of minutes over the weekend...Kelly Krei played the entire game against Illinois State and shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter. We will need those types of efforts to be successful this season.
We were very happy to come away with two wins against quality opponents. Santa Clara is a very talented team, and Illinois State was a tough matchup. It's great to be 2-0 heading into another difficult stretch of games. We play 19th-ranked Kansas Wednesday night, and it's Buck Night! Tickets are only $1, so come out and support the Hawkeyes against a quality Big 12 opponent. We then take our first road trip of the year Sunday when we head to Northern Iowa. In-state games always present a unique challenge, and we need to be on top of our game against the Panthers.
Thanks, as always, to our great fans. Our freshmen commented on how great it was to hear the cheering fans for the first time as they ran out of the tunnel at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Keep coming out and supporting our team, and we hope to see everyone Wednesday night for Buck Night!