Women's hoops prevails over Wisconsin

BY MATT COZZI | JANUARY 20, 2012 7:20 AM

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Maybe this was the kind of game the Iowa women's basketball team wanted.

Maybe this is what Iowa — a team that could be in jeopardy of snapping its streak of four-straight NCAA Tournament berths — needed to get on a sizable winning streak.

Maybe Thursday's win against Wisconsin can propel Iowa further up the crowded Big Ten standings.

That all remains to be seen, but it's not improbable, given the Hawkeyes' performance on Thursday night against the Badgers. Iowa (11-8, 3-3 Big Ten) defeated Wisconsin (5-13, 1-5) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 69-57.

"It was an extremely important game for us," senior Kamille Wahlin said. "We needed [the win] big-time. Now, it put us up back at .500 in the conference … you definitely want to protect the home court and get those home wins."

Jaime Printy has perhaps been Iowa's most consistent player this season, and the Marion native put a dagger into the opposition. She tallied 25 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the floor and 9-of-9 from the free-throw line. The 5-11 guard scored 16 of her points in the second half.

Printy's effort means she is now 10th all-time on Iowa's career scoring list, with 1,364 points.

Wahlin added 15 points and 5 assists on a night in which the Athletics Department distributed bobblehead dolls in her likeness. The point guard was also perfect from the charity stripe — she made all six of her attempts.

Head coach Lisa Bluder defined the victory as "big" for the program and singled out her two guards as main reasons for the positive outcome.

"When we went on a run, we hit high-percentage shots," Bluder said. "Jaime hits a lay-up, Kamille hits a couple of lay-ups, Jaime goes to the free-throw line, Kamille goes to the free-throw line. Those are high-percentage shots, and that's what we got when we went on that run after about the 10-minute mark."

Iowa did just that with the game tied at 47 by going on a 14-0 run that sealed the victory. The Badgers closed the deficit to within 9, but couldn't get any closer.

The matchup featured numerous momentum swings throughout both halves, including a 9-0 Hawkeye run early in the first half and a 19-3 run by Wisconsin shortly thereafter.

But Iowa fought back and closed the deficit within 1 at halftime, 28-27.

Bluder's squad will now travel to State College, Pa., to take on Penn State (14-4, 4-2) on Jan. 22. The Nittany Lions rank 22nd in the nation and feature two of the Big Ten's best guards, Maggie Lucas and Alex Bentley.

But despite Penn State's success this season, the Nittany Lions have lost twice at home — and Printy said the Hawkeyes will try to use that to their advantage when they visit over the weekend.

"Road games are always tough, and just knowing that Penn State lost twice on its home court in Big Ten play is huge for us," Printy said. "We've just got to go in there knowing we can do the same thing to them."

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