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Women's hoops seeks rebound against Western Illinois

BY MATT COZZI | DECEMBER 09, 2011 7:20 AM

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A typical staple of the Iowa women's basketball team appears to have regressed this season.

The starting lineup.

Kamille Wahlin has struggled. Kelly Krei has gotten off to a slow start. Samantha Logic is averaging about 4 turnovers a game. Even Jaime Printy and Morgan Johnson have had rough patches that usually involve foul trouble.

The trend continued on Wednesday night, when Iowa's starters were unable to give the team the spark it sought in the Hawkeyes' 62-54 loss to Iowa State.

Heading into the game against Western Illinois at 7 p.m. today in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, head coach Lisa Bluder's squad will need to receive a major boost from the starting five.

Aside from Johnson — who scored 16 points — the starters combined to shoot 23 percent on 6-of-26 shooting and had 15 turnovers.

"We're just not shooting the ball well, shooting under 30 percent from the field." Bluder said, noting Iowa had 10 fewer shots than Iowa State. "It's hard to win games if you don't shoot the ball well and you don't have as many opportunities to shoot it.

"That obviously makes a big difference."

Opponents have shot the ball 50 more times than Iowa has during the first nine games this season.

The 3-pointer, which was heavily utilized by the Hawkeyes during the 2010-11 season, is still in the repertoire — but the Black and Gold are only hitting 32.6 percent of them.

Iowa's inability to convert consistently from inside the arc may be having an effect on other facets of the offense.

"We're living and dying by the 3-point shot right now," assistant coach Shannon Gage said in a radio interview on Wednesday. "When we get those easy 2-point shots, we have to be able to put those down."

Iowa has also had a knack of yielding some sizable point runs in its first slate of games so far, and it can't afford to do so tonight against Western Illinois (3-5).

The Hawkeyes gave up a few big runs in the second half against Iowa State that put the game out of reach. The Cyclones also took a 6-0 run into halftime after being down, 27-20, less than a minute before the break.

"It was really the last 30 seconds they went on a huge run," Printy said. "We were up 7, and then of all a sudden, we were up 1. We can't let runs like that happen."

The Hawkeyes will ultimately need to improve offensively and take care of the ball in order to make a turnaround — and, more importantly, be prepared for Big Ten play.

That improvement has to begin today against the Leathernecks.

"We just have to move on and get ready for the Big Ten," Bluder said. "… I hope some people come out and help us out [at Carver]. We could really use a boost."

Follow DI Assistant Sports Editor Matt Cozzi on Twitter.


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