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Iowa looks to defeat Minnesota tonight

BY MATT COZZI | FEBRUARY 10, 2011 7:10 AM

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No longer ranked in the Top 25.

No longer in contention for the Big Ten championship.

No longer projected to be a 4 seed or better in the NCAA Tournament.

And Minnesota comes into Carver-Hawkeye Arena tonight on a three-game winning streak.

What might sound like doom and gloom now for the Iowa women’s basketball season, could change at any moment.

Although one goal has been deemed unachievable for the Hawkeyes (17-7, 5-6 Big Ten), there still is reason for optimism. There are five games left in the regular season and postseason play begins next month.

“There is still a lot of season left, Big Ten Tournament is still [coming up],” sophomore Jaime Printy said. “I know one of our goals is out of the question now, but there are still a lot of goals that we have. We can’t get too down on just one thing, we have to keep pushing forward and looking towards the future.”

The future begins tonight, as the Golden Gophers (11-12, 3-7) come to Iowa City looking to further derail Iowa’s preseason hopes. The Hawkeyes will try to to snap the Gophers’ streak, but head coach Lisa Bluder refused to refer to the matchup as a “must win.”

“[Minnesota] has been playing much better,” the 11-year Iowa coach said. “It’s kind of like us last year; we got that winning streak at the end of the year, and that momentum is really important.”

Consistency counts

At her weekly press conference on Tuesday, Bluder harped on one element that she would like to see more out of her team this season: consistency.

Last week served as an example of Iowa’s inconsistency. Against Illinois on Jan. 30, Bluder’s squad shot 52 percent from the field. Four days later in West Lafayette, Ind., the Hawkeyes shot a miserable 21.8 percent against Purdue.

“The consistency — or lack of consistency I guess — concerns me the most,” Bluder said. “One game we shoot well from [beyond the arc], the next game we don’t. It’s like you don’t really know where you’re going to sit going into every game and then you have to make adjustments during the game, which is kind of tough.”

Injury updates

A sudden trip to the emergency room might end up costing redshirt sophomore Hannah Draxten only one game. Draxten missed Sunday’s game against Penn State.

The Hawkeye from Fergus Falls, Minn., is suffering from an unspecified eye infection that occurred last weekend. The 5-11 guard will have to wear eye goggles in practices and games for at least the next month.

Bluder said Draxten would receive the goggles by today at the latest, but she was hoping to have them earlier so Draxten could get repetitions in practice while wearing them.

Also, senior Kachine Alexander suffered a right foot injury against the Lady Lions. Alexander will not miss any game action because of the minor setback. X-rays showed no damage to the foot, Bluder said.

“I ran up and down the court a couple times [on Sunday] and it wasn’t feeling right, so I took myself out,” said Alexander, who is averaging 14 points per game. “I got tape on it at the end of the bench, and I got through the rest of the first half.”


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