Hawkeye women’s hoops crush Indiana

BY MATT COZZI | JANUARY 17, 2011 7:10 AM

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Maybe, just maybe, this is the kind of game the Iowa women’s basketball team was looking for.

Maybe this is what the 16th-ranked Hawkeyes needed to go on a win streak.

Maybe Sunday’s win — following a heartbreaker to No. 9 Michigan State on Jan. 13 — can propel Iowa (15-4, 3-3) for the remainder of the season as it looks to separate itself in the crowded Big Ten standings.

That remains to be seen, but it’s not improbable — especially not after the Hawkeyes put together a solid effort on Sunday against Indiana. Before an announced crowd of 6,596 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa’s ample energy fueled the squad from the opening tip, and its good start led to a 71-51 win over the Hoosiers.

Head coach Lisa Bluder said the 20-point thrashing is beneficial for a number of reasons, including Iowa’s next encounter with the Hoosiers. The Hawkeyes will again play Indiana on Feb. 27 to conclude the regular season.

“We just want to execute and win,” Bluder said. “We always want a decisive win because I think it puts doubt in [Indiana’s] minds. The next time we go to their place, to know that we put a 20-point loss on them, I think it kind of plays with them mentally. Hopefully, we did that today.”

Sophomore Jaime Printy was nearly flawless again, and the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer posted 18 points in a team-high 32 minutes played.

Kachine Alexander gave on-lookers a glimpse of why she’s on the Wooden Watch list as a candidate for one of the most prestigious awards in all of women’s college basketball. She finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

And Morgan Johnson continued to be impressive; the 6-5 center recorded 10 points and nine rebounds en route to the Hawkeyes’ victory.

Printy said the team’s quick start contributed to such a good response following the Jan. 13 loss to Michigan State in which Iowa lost on a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left.

“I think we’ve had some really good practices the last couple of days,” Printy said. “We came out and showed tonight that we can bounce back.”

Aside from the starters’ performances, the Hawkeyes’ bench was a significant contributor to the win. The supporting cast tallied 17 total points.

Against the Spartans, Iowa’s reserves were stagnant — putting up a goose egg on the score sheet. In its bout with the Hoosiers on Sunday, the bench made a statement. In fact, every active Hawkeye played in the game, which marked the first time that’s happened all season.

True freshman Jade Rogers made the most of her first significant minutes in about a month. The Cedar Rapids native had five points, two rebounds, and one steal.

“It’s awesome,” Printy said. “I love it when everyone on our team gets to play and everyone scores. It’s great having that confidence in the backup players.”

Iowa now has an eight-day layoff before re-encountering No. 20 Ohio State. The Hawkeyes won their previous matchup against the Buckeyes, 89-76, on Jan. 8.

With the unusual midseason layoff — which is due to the game being broadcasted nationally on ESPN2 — Alexander said the Indiana win is crucial for Iowa.

“It’s just a great win overall,” the senior guard said. “Bouncing back from that tough loss against Michigan State, we didn’t hang our heads, but at the same time, you have to keep looking forward because you’re going to have tough nights like that in the Big Ten.

“I’m very proud of our team for coming out with this win, and we are going to work on our fundamentals on this eight-day break before we go to Ohio State.”

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