Hawkeye women hoops seeks 'rebound' against Albany


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Iowa women's basketball head coach Lisa Bluder was adamant about what went wrong in Sunday's 69-59 loss to UNLV.

"Rebounding continues to be a sore subject for us," the 12th-year head coach said. "I don't know who you're going to beat giving up 20 rebounds to. We've got some work to do — and it's not just the defensive end boxing out, it's the offensive end."

Albany has opened the season 2-0 after beating Fordham, 59-42, and La Salle, 81-76.

One member of the Great Danes who Iowa will have to be sure to contain is junior forward Julie Forster.

She was named the America East Conference Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds in the Great Danes' first two games of the season. She's shooting 57.6 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free-throw line while playing all but one minute in the two games combined.

With Forster being listed at 6-0, that means Iowa will have to work hard to keep her away from the backboard. The Hawkeyes struggled against UNLV's undersized frontcourt and let senior forwards Jamie Smith and Sandrine Nzeukou control the glass.

Smith ended up with 17 boards and Nzeukou had 15, even though the players are listed at 6-0 and 6-2, respectively.

But junior guard Jaime Printy said Sunday rebounding isn't the only thing hampering the Hawkeyes.

"We need to shoot the ball better, and we're not going to win games if we don't," she said.

The Hawkeyes are only shooting 42.9 percent from the field so far, 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. Iowa made 31 of its 37 free-throws in two games but attempted only two freebies in the second half against UNLV.

"They had [11] more opportunities to shoot the ball from the free-throw line than we did," Bluder said. "… We just didn't get to the rim enough to create foul situations, either."

Part of that problem was because center Morgan Johnson exited with a lower leg injury in the second half, but the 6-5 junior is still listed as the starter in the game notes released by the team on Tuesday afternoon.

Johnson has a history of knee tendinitis, and that she didn't return to Sunday's game may have been a precaution.

"It's one of those things I'll have to deal with," Johnson said, speaking about the tendinitis on Nov. 10. "When it comes to game time, I can't worry about myself; I have to worry about the team."

Tendinitis was a problem for Johnson during her freshman year, but it calmed down last season. During the summer, though, Johnson said, some of the lifts the team was working with "made it flare up again."

Though Johnson had a poor game against UNLV — she was scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting with three rebounds — she's the only post player with experience on the roster. The next tallest player, 6-4 Bethany Doolittle, is a true freshman.

"Well, it hurt, obviously, not to have your center in there [against UNLV]," Bluder said. "[Johnson is] somebody that you really rely on and has been there for us in those situations."

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