Commentary: Printy worth more than points


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Subbing out midway through the second half during Sunday’s game against Northwestern, Iowa freshman Jaime Printy exchanged high-fives with her coaches before sitting down — commonplace for basketball players.

But then Printy did something you don’t always see.

The 5-10 guard didn’t stop and sit in the first available seat.

She strolled down the rest of the bench, making sure each one of her teammates received a high-five as well.

Such a gesture may be one of the more subtle displays of maturity Printy possesses. But the Marion native’s skillful showing on Sunday was anything but subtle.

She gashed the Wildcats to the tune of 23 points.

One might guess 23 points would be a high mark for a freshman. Many would have even been happy with her 22-point performance she recorded at Illinois earlier in the week.

Not Printy. The effort didn’t even match her season high output of 26 — a total she has posted twice this year.

I’m sensing a trend here.

Jaime Printy isn’t playing like your typical freshman.

Then again, that’s the song Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder has sung all season long. Sunday’s victory over Northwestern was just the latest demonstration in Printy’s campaign for Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

“I think Jaime just continues to play so maturely, and so strong,” Bluder said. “She’s not unnerved out there at all, and she just looks like she’s under control all the time.”

Entering Iowa City with the reputation of being a great high-school shooter, Printy showed her ability to score in a variety of ways on Sunday. Nine of her points came from the free-throw line, and eight came off 2-pointers.

She didn’t leave her marksmanship in Champaign Thursday night, either. Printy added two 3-pointers against the Wildcats.

But freshman or not, consistency and adaptation — particularly when in conference play — are the true measures of a player’s mettle.

Since Iowa started its Big Ten slate, Printy hasn’t disappeared. She’s just gotten better.

Entering the Hawkeyes’ home contest, Printy averaged a team-best 14.5 points per contest in Iowa’s 19 games.

Through eight Big Ten bouts, her scoring average stood at 15.5 — a number ballooning to 16.3 following Sunday’s victory.

In fact, her Sunday point total could have easily been 25. With just over a minute left, and Iowa leading, 77-69, Printy passed on an open look from the arc.

Why? She had more than half a shot clock remaining. A veteran move.

For some reason, I wasn’t surprised.

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