Bluder’s Bunch fails to come away with road victory in Columbus

BY JON FRANK | JANUARY 25, 2011 7:10 AM

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With just under four minutes left in the second half, Ohio State’s Brittany Johnson drained a shot from beyond the arc to put the Buckeyes (13-6, 4-3) up 13 points. As time expired, the Hawkeyes failed to mount a comeback, let alone cut the deficit.

Iowa (15-5, 3-4) fell to Ohio State in Columbus on Monday, 81-67, after blowing a one-point halftime lead.  

“When they came out and gave us that sucker punch in the first four minutes [of the second half], all of a sudden you could just see everybody was on her heels,” assistant coach Jan Jensen said in a radio interview. “We’re going to have to work a little bit on that and dissect what happened.”

Outscored 49-34 in the second half, the No. 18 Hawkeyes failed to slow a persistent and efficient offensive attack led by three-time Big Ten Player of the year Jantel Lavender, who finished the game with 22 points.

The Buckeyes, who shot 72 percent from the floor in the second half, avenged an 89-76 loss suffered in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 8.

While she led the Hawks with 28 points during the Jan. 8 matchup in Iowa City, this time around, Hawkeye sophomore guard Jaime Printy was held to 12 points — four points shy of her season average.

“They were really using a chaser on her and really staying on her tight, face-guarding her the whole time,” head coach Lisa Bluder said in a radio interview. “When somebody does that to somebody, it opens it up for everybody else. It opens up the lane to drive because there is no help defense … I think when Jaime got her hands on the ball, she really needed to look to penetrate a little bit more because they were on her so tight.”

The three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year praised Lavender and Ashley Adams for their ability to score points in the paint and attributed her squad’s loss to Ohio State’s high shooting percentage and the 38 points from the two inside players.

Bluder said that Adams’ role in the rematch played a large factor in the lopsided defeat.

“She’s hard to guard, just with her size,” the 11-year Iowa coach said. “She’s an accurate field-goal shooter. But I think she and Jantel do a nice job with the high-low. It looks like they’re looking for each other really well.”

Adams sat out the majority of the previous matchup, but she played 36 minutes in Monday’s contest.

The Buckeyes’ drastic height advantage also posed a problem for an undersized Hawkeye team; Bluder’s Bunch was outrebounded 36-31.

“Especially in our zone it was a little bit harder because we weren’t really used to that,” said senior guard Kachine Alexander, who finished the game with nine points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. “It gives the team a whole different look.”

After being projected to finish second in the conference behind Ohio State, Iowa sits in the bottom half of the Big Ten with a sub-.500 conference record.

“We have Michigan State next,” Bluder said. “That’s a tough bounce back. We only have one day to prepare for them, because Tuesday’s our day off for the week.”

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