Printy’s missed free-throw one of many missed opportunities


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The Iowa women’s basketball team trailed Michigan 52-51 with 11 seconds remaining inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday evening.

Freshman Jaime Printy — who had previously been a perfect 16-of-16 on the season from the free-throw line, including 2-of-2 earlier in the game — headed to the charity stripe for a one-and-one opportunity.

A Printy free throw had been the surest thing for the Hawkeyes all season long. In Sunday’s closing seconds, it was not.

As the ball approached the cylinder, the Marion native’s free-throw attempt appeared to look good. But just a split-second later, Printy’s ball found a way to rim out of the basket.

The Wolverines recovered the rebound and avoided the Hawkeyes’ frantic attempts at a foul, converting a lay-up with one second left.

Michigan (5-2, 1-0 Big Ten) escaped Iowa City with a 54-51 victory over Iowa (5-4, 0-1).

Less than an hour later, with the seats of Carver now void of the 2,856 fans that attended the game, Iowa associate head coach Jan Jensen found Printy once she emerged onto the hardwood from the locker room.

Jensen didn’t waste a second before embracing the disappointed freshman. She clapped for Printy before wrapping her up for a comforting hug. Jensen followed that with words of advice for the 5-11 guard.

“I kind of use some humor sometimes,” Jensen said. “They’re feeling like it’s the end of the world.”

Jensen reminded Printy she’s a freshman — and it was good she wasn’t a senior that ended her career on that shot.

“You just have to remind them that life has ups and downs, and basketball’s just like it,” Jensen said. “Just remind her — you’re going to hit the game-winner sometime. You’re so young. You’re going to hit it from the baseline one day. You’re going to hit the free-throw one day. But this wasn’t the day.”

Printy may have missed a free-throw that would have set her up for a second, possible game-winning one, but Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder noted Printy’s opportunity was not the only one that the Hawkeyes failed to seize on Sunday.

“I felt good about [Printy at the free-throw line], but there are a lot of situations that happened before then,” Bluder said. “Missed offensive rebounds, missed defensive rebounds. I don’t want to look at one last thing in the game like that, but certainly, I’m sure she’s thinking about it.”

Printy and her backcourt counterpart, sophomore point guard Kamille Wahlin, combined to shoot just 4-of-24 from the field. That mark included a 3-point rate of 2-of-14.

As a team, Iowa turned the ball over 18 times. The Hawkeyes also shot a season-low 36.2 percent from the floor — a stat that Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder lauded the suffocating Wolverine defense for.

Ultimately, the 10th-year head coach credited the defeat to her players still developing an understanding of how to win close games.

“Unfortunately, these close games, we’re just not winning,” said Bluder, whose team has suffered three losses by a combined 11 points. “Basically we’ve lost four games by three points. That’s hard, because it really comes down to one possession. That’s hard to take. But at the same time, we know we’re there, and we have to keep remembering that so that we can start winning some of these close games.”

Printy and the Hawkeyes won’t have to wait long to get a chance to redeem themselves. Iowa will next travel to Ames for its annual clash with Iowa State (5-1) on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.

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