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Hawkeye women seek offensive improvement

BY MATT COZZI | NOVEMBER 08, 2011 7:20 AM

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Not all exhibition games result in a lopsided score, but most of them probably should.

Especially when the opponent is from a lower-tier conference, let alone another division.

The Iowa women's basketball team defeated Winona State on Sunday, but the Hawkeyes struggled noticeably throughout the game.

The Warriors, a Division-II program from Minnesota, exposed some areas in which Iowa needs to improve. Those areas were specifically evident in the first half on Sunday, and Winona actually led by 4 at halftime before falling, 65-51.

Poor shooting and rebounding were prevalent early on. Jaime Printy — an honorable mention AP All-American selection last season — went 0-of-8 from the field in the first half. The junior guard finished the game with 6 points.

"We had the jitters or something to start the game," head coach Lisa Bluder said. "Our shots didn't fall … we didn't work to get high percentage shots in the first half."

Iowa was 8-of-31 shooting in the game's first 20 minutes, and Winona State led in numerous categories on the stat sheet, including rebounds. The Hawkeyes were outrebounded, 42-37.

Bluder noted rebounding would be a point of emphasis in practice this week.

"I thought we forced our offense a little too much," she said. "We were trying to create [shots] for ourselves instead of running our offense. We did talk about rebounding [at halftime], but I don't think that improved a whole lot in the second half."

The Hawkeyes' roster is filled with talented shooters, and Iowa has nearly its entire roster healthy for the first time in a few seasons — and that added depth includes five freshmen. Bethany Doolittle, who at 6-4 is a legitimate backup for starting center Morgan Johnson, should fill a role Iowa lacked in 2010-11.

But with Doolittle and the 6-5 Johnson, the Hawkeyes shouldn't have been outrebounded by a Division-II team — and they know that.

Freshman Samantha Logic cited "a change" in approach was and is needed moving forward.

"Our rebounding wasn't as good as it needed to be, but I think intensity is a big thing," Logic said. "We need to have more intensity. Not getting shots to fall, things like that, we just need to have more intensity, and better [results] will come after that."

Printy, the youngest player in school history to record more than 1,000 points, faced offensive woes just as the rest of the team did.

The Marion native shot 2-of-10 overall, 1-of-6 from 3-point range. Granted, she said she expected her role to change slightly this season.

"I have a feeling defenses will clamp on me a little more this year, which will be good to get other people open and for our offense," she said at the team's media day last month. "So whatever happens, happens — as long as we get the win."

Bluder said if not for the exhibition game, however, she might not be able to evaluate the team as much as she can now. The Hawkeyes will open their regular season Saturday against Harvard in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"I thought it was a great exhibition contest for us, and they pointed some things out for us," Bluder said. "I think we'll get [our play] cleaned up. It will be a great film for us to watch and pick up some things we can really work on."


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