Iowa women beat Minnesota in final seconds


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That’s all that needs to be said about Jaime Printy and Kachine Alexander in Iowa’s 64-62 win over Minnesota.

While Alexander has routinely paced the Hawkeyes this season, Thursday night proved why she is one of the best players in Iowa basketball history.

And Printy, whose scoring consistency has led Iowa many times before, proved why she has one of the most lethal shots in the Big Ten.

Alexander won the game for the Hawkeyes with what has become her signature dribble-drive, and Printy kept the game close in the second half, hitting two free-throws and a huge 3-point basket inside of two minutes.

With the game tied 62-62, the 5-9 Alexander gave Iowa the advantage with her lay-up with five seconds remaining. Although it was somewhat of a broken play — head coach Lisa Bluder said the plan was to go to Kamille Wahlin — it proved to be the game-winner for Iowa.

“I tried to get them off-balance, and I think I did that pretty well,” said Alexander, who got the ball via a hand-off. “I went up against the bigger post player and finished.”

After the basket, the Hawkeyes got back on defense quickly, and Minnesota was not able to get a shot off to either tie or win. Wahlin stole the ball at midcourt with about two seconds left and dribbled into the frontcourt until the final buzzer sounded.

For Iowa (18-7, 6-6 Big Ten), the victory snaps a two-game losing streak while also halting Minnesota’s three-game winning streak. The Hawkeyes have four games remaining, and they want to keep moving in a positive direction.

“We have talked about it a couple times, what we have left this year and what we need to do,” Printy said. “[This win] gets our confidence back.”

For as many lead changes as there were Thursday night, it was no surprise the game came down to its final seconds.

Neither Iowa nor Minnesota pulled away, and both teams struggled to find a rhythm.

The Hawkeyes looked sluggish from the tip and missed several shots early on, with most of the crucial misses coming from beyond the arc. Iowa was just 2-of-11 from 3-point range, and overall, it shot a minuscule 34.8 percent from the field.

Alexander piloted the winning effort in the second half, leading the team with 17 points. Printy recorded 13 points, and junior Kelly Krei added 12.

Two things Iowa wasn’t able to do against Penn State — take care of the ball and make its free throws down the stretch — were reversed against the Golden Gophers. The Hawkeyes hit 13-of-15 free throws and only surrendered eight turnovers.

“I think we took care of the ball well,” Bluder said. “We shot well from the free-throw line, so it was nice to see us [improving] on that.”

The squad hopes the win at home will propel it for the rest of the season; squad will hit the hardwood again on Feb. 13 at Northwestern.

Printy said it was nice to get the close win.

“We were due for a win, but I think it just goes to show that our team is not going to give up,” she said. “We have a lot of important games left. It’s always hard to lose two in a row, but I think we really bounced back tonight and played well together.”

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