Iowa’s struggles in Mackey Arena continue

BY JON FRANK | FEBRUARY 04, 2011 7:10 AM

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The Iowa women’s basketball team (17-6, 5-5) opened Thursday’s game against Purdue (16-7, 6-4) with a 2-0 lead.

That was the high point of the game for the No. 22 Hawkeyes, who fell, 60-41, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.. The Black and Gold were only able to muster one more lead throughout the span of the game — a short-lived 4-2 advantage.

Iowa’s shooting wasn’t pretty, but then again, nothing else was, either.

The Hawkeyes shot 22 percent from the field, including a minuscule 12 percent from beyond the arc. They turned the ball over 21 times.

“It’s very unusual for us not to have anybody kind of be a spark on our team and be able to get rolling offensively,” coach Lisa Bluder said in a postgame interview. “Give credit to Purdue for that.”

The low point total is unusual for Bluder’s Bunch, a team that earns its living off perimeter shooting and high offensive production. Down from their 69-point average, Thursday night’s performance was the team’s lowest scoring game of the season.

“If we made a couple of those lay-ups or drawn a couple of fouls on those lay-ups early, it might have been a different game,” Bluder said. “They were very physical with us, and it put us on our heels.”

Sophomore guard Jaime Printy — who averages 15 points per game — was limited to 7 and went 2-of-9 from the field, including 0-for-4 on 3-pointers.

The only bright spot on the team was senior guard Kachine Alexander: The Minneapolis native was the only Hawkeye to breech double digits. But her 11 points, eight rebounds, and four steals weren’t enough to keep Iowa anywhere near the Boilermakers.

From the onset, Purdue appeared to be superior in every facet. Led by guard Brittany Rayburn — who finished with 23 points and made her first four 3-pointers — Sharon Versyp’s team shot a respectable 43 percent from the field and connected on 4-of-9 3-point attempts.

“This was a very pivotal game for us,” Versyp said in a postgame interview on purduesports.com. “Our team really stepped up with this opportunity to play great defense, which really starts everything for us.”

Hardships at Mackey Arena are nothing new for Iowa. The previous four trips to West Lafayette ended in losses — including a 81-59 drubbing on Jan. 17, 2010.

In the aftermath of what can only be described as a complete team disappointment, the Hawkeyes must regroup as they prepare to host Penn State on Feb. 6 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten with an 8-2 record.

“You can’t dwell on one game,” Bluder said. “It’s over. You’ve got to move on. There are six games left in this conference season, and even with this loss, we are still in the thick of it.”

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