Second-half surge improves Hawkeyes to 8-1

BY JON FRANK | DECEMBER 06, 2010 7:20 AM

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With the game a struggle down to the waning moments of the second half, the Iowa women's basketball team (8-1) held on to overcome visiting Kansas State (6-1), 68-62, on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

In the first half, the No. 18 Hawkeyes appeared to be out of synch and coated in rust. The players struggled to find open shots, and the deep threat was basically nonexistent with a 2-of-8 showing from beyond the arc.

And although there was ball movement, Iowa only managed a meager 25 points by the halftime buzzer.

Following two lead changes, five ties, and a four-point deficit, the Hawkeyes retreated to the locker room scratching their heads, picking their brains for answers following a 14-2 Wildcat run that concluded the period.

"Our first half was very lackluster," head coach Lisa Bluder said. "We didn't play with a lot of emotion. We weren't communicating very well, and then we bounced back."

Despite trailing 29-25, Bluder's Bunch emerged brimming with confidence in the second half and reclaimed the lead to electrify the 7,600 fans in attendance.

Sophomore standouts Jaime Printy and Morgan Johnson led the surge — Johnson on the defensive side and Printy with efficient shooting.

"We really changed around at halftime and talked about the things that needed to change, and we made those changes and came out strong in the second half," Printy said.

Printy — who posted nine points in the first half — continued her effective offensive production and concluded the outing with a team high 20 points and a 62 percent shooting percentage. Despite the 3-point production Printy normally enjoys — she leads the team with 19 3-pointers — the Marion native made her living with points in the paint, abstaining from the long ball in the second half.

"It gives our team some confidence to know that we don't have to rely on the 3 all the time," Printy said. "Everyone knows that we can shoot the 3, and we're capable of it. But I think it gives us and other teams a whole other outlook, and they have to stop our drive now, too."

Bluder said that driving the lane was something she wanted to see her team address early and often. The squad finished with 38 points in the paint — 26 in the second half.

Also anchoring the second half rally was Johnson.

"I felt a little more confident in the second half," she said. "Coach [Shannon Gage] told me what I needed to fix, offensively and defensively, for us to win the game. I just worked hard in the second half to fix those things."

Following a first half in which Jalana Childs — Johnson's defensive assignment — dominated the paint with 18 points, Johnson asserted herself. Childs was silenced and held to a single field goal. Moreover, Johnson used her 6-5 frame to accumulate five blocks.

"[Johnson]'s tough to shoot over," Bluder said. "We started playing her behind Childs in the second half, and you could just see [Childs] really struggled with having to shoot over [Johnson]."

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