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Senior Night highlights final two games for Hawkeye women

BY MATT COZZI | FEBRUARY 23, 2011 7:20 AM

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Leaving a legacy.

That’s exactly what two seniors hope to do following graduation this spring and the subsequent end to their college careers as part of the Iowa women’s basketball team.

While the season isn’t over just yet, Kachine Alexander and Kelsey Cermak will play on the Carver-Hawkeye Arena hardwood Thursday for one last time.

“It’s meant a lot to be here. If you ask any alumni who have come through this program, they would say the same thing,” Alexander said. “It’s an honor to be coached by the coaching staff that we have and also to wear the Iowa uniform and be proud of it.”

Alexander has solidified her place in Iowa women’s basketball history. The 5-9 guard passed the career 1,000-point, 800-rebounds, and 300-assists marks earlier this season.

Despite being 6-1 and playing on the perimeter prior to her college career, Cermak has played both forward and center as a Hawkeye.

This season, Cermak has primarily served as backup to Morgan Johnson, and she has been able to get consistent minutes off the bench. She has logged double-digit minutes the last two games.

“I have said this all four years I’ve been here, I’ll play wherever,” she said. “It’s not a big deal to me.”

Thursday’s game is Senior Night, commemorating what Alexander and Cermak have accomplished while donning the Black and Gold.

“Senior Night is always tough,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “You really have to say goodbye to people who have been a huge part of your program for the last four years, and this one, I think, is really special because of what Kelsey and Kachine have done for our program.”

Indeed, it’s a lot more than just one game this week. Rather, the closing of an entire four-year span in which the two players have set the bar extremely high for current and incoming players.

While at Iowa, Alexander and Cermak have set the precedent in terms of program success. Barring any late-season mishap, the Hawkeyes are set to make the NCAA Tournament a fourth-consecutive season, all of which the veteran duo have been on the roster for. Iowa has also recorded four 20-win seasons in a row following the Hawkeyes’ win against Wisconsin on Feb. 16.

“That’s tradition,” Bluder said of the accolades that have been accumulated with Alexander and Cermak in the program. “They’re leaving a legacy behind, and I think that we need to have a great send-off for them against Illinois.”

Potential attendance record

The single-season attendance record is in reach for the Hawkeye women’s basketball program. For the record to be broken, 7,464 fans need to attend Thursday’s game. So far, Iowa has drawn 76,482 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season, an average of 5,883 per game.

The home attendance record sits at fourth in the record books at Iowa, with the single-season mark also ranked 13th nationally as of Tuesday.

Bluder said that while getting the allotted number to break the record may prove difficult for a weeknight game, she won’t put it past the program’s fans to do so.

“[The record] says that people are excited about our program,” she said. “Fans want to support the women who are on the floor … it helps us with recruiting to be able to say those types of things. It’s kind of another benchmark of where this program is heading and how far we’ve come. So it would be a good accomplishment.”


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