Notebook: Favorable schedule and talent bodes well for Iowa women’s basketball

BY BEN ROSS | OCTOBER 18, 2012 6:30 AM

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Hawkeyes could capitalize on favorable home schedule

The Iowa women’s basketball team will open its season in a tournament at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and close the season in a tournament also played on its home court.

The first exhibition will kick off on Nov. 9, when Northern Illinois travels to Iowa City for the preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The Hawkeyes could also play host on the biggest stage of women’s college basketball, as Carver will hold the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament on March 24-26.

Head coach Lisa Bluder said that her squad is fortunate to find itself in such a position.

“Our goal this year is to open the season by winning a tournament game at home and end the season by winning tournament games at home.  It’s not very often that you get the opportunity to host national tournaments bookending your season … that’s a great honor, and we want to make the most of both of those tournaments being held here in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.”

Printy to return to lineup

Iowa brings in a lineup that returns four starters: senior Morgan Johnson at center, with sophomores Sam Logic and Melissa Dixon and senior Jaime Printy at the guards. Printy has been the leading scorer for the Hawkeyes since her freshman year, but she went down with a torn ACL in the closing seconds of an overtime win over Wisconsin last year on Feb. 2.

Despite her crippling injury, Bluder said she’s confident that Printy will be ready for Northern Illinois.

“I can’t tell you if she’ll be 100 percent at that point,” Bluder said. “I can tell you that she’s working as hard as she can to get to that point. And I can tell you that I have 100 percent belief in her when she shoots the ball and that she will help our team reach our goals.”

Printy said that her knee feels good, but she noted that she has to be smart not to rush rehabilitation and come back to play too early. The toughest part so far is rebuilding her swagger around the hoop, she said.

“I think the biggest thing, building that confidence back up to go and take some hits around the basket,” Printy said. “I had my first fall the other day — that was kind of scary.”

Frosh could have effect on 2012-13 squad

Iowa inked a talented recruiting class that features some players that could make an impact early on in their careers as Hawkeyes.

Claire Till, Kayla Timmerman, Nicole Smith, and Kali Peschel round out this year’s freshman class.

Peschel started on her varsity basketball team as an eighth-grader in Sauk Centre, Minn.

“I was the tallest person on my team as an eighth-grader,” the 6-1 player said. “Being able to get that experience at that young of age helped a lot. I’m versatile, I know the 1-5 spot.”

Bluder iterated the value Peschel could have for her squad even at a young age, saying her abilities and versatility make some intriguing options.

“She can really play a 2, 3 or 4 for us,” Bluder said.  “I expect that she’s going to be in the mix of things right away.  She’s a very good player, and we need to have Kali Peschel on the floor even as a freshman.”

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