Losing is not an option for Iowa women's basketball


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Lisa Bluder knows the importance of bouncing back.

The 12-year head coach for the Iowa women’s basketball team admitted to not having fully left behind the upsetting 67-65 loss to Northwestern on Sunday. She said her team took many hours on Monday to go over the film of that game, looking at the mistakes.

But on Tuesday, after her weekly press conference with the media, Bluder assured all who listened that her team was ready to learn from those mistakes and prepare to avoid their third-straight loss to Minnesota tonight in Minneapolis.

“We can’t dwell on it,” she said. “If we dwell on it, it’s going to snowball into another … In athletics, you have to learn to bounce back, or you’re done.”

The team captains, well aware of their coach’s preachings, took matters into their own hands following the loss to the Wildcats. Team leaders Jaime Printy, Morgan Johnson, and Trisha Nesbitt held a few team meetings, along with meetings of just the captains, to try to figure out why Bluder’s Bunch is in a sort of funk.

The two-game losing streak came the week after Iowa garnered enough votes and points to be established among the nation’s top 25 teams in two separate polls. Such pressure may have gotten to the Hawkeyes, who lost their next two.

A win, said Printy, would immediately raise the spirits and help get the women back on track.

“We just need to win,” she said. “We haven’t been playing very well — defensively or offensively. It’s all basketball, on-the-court stuff.”

The woes — which began with 27 turnovers in a 74-62 loss to Illinois on Jan. 31 — continued to be problems against Northwestern. The Wildcats sunk nearly 60 percent of their shots in the second half of the contest during their comeback, with more than 30 points coming from the paint.

Iowa’s offensive problems were also quite visible. Without Melissa Dixon’s 7-of-10 performance from the field, the Hawkeyes made 13 shots in the entire game against Northwestern.

Those numbers might also apply unneeded stress and pressure on the Hawkeyes. Looks of frustration during the previous two contests were obvious, which isn’t the recipe for success.

“We need to have fun out there,” Theairra Taylor said. “Just look at our faces. We were up most of the [Northwestern] game, and it didn’t look like we were having fun.”

Looking at the film might have demonstrated that aspect of the game to Taylor, as well as her teammates. Many of those same teammates might have more reasons to smile than normal tonight in Minneapolis, because this game serves as a type of homecoming for many of the Minnesota-natives on Iowa’s roster.

Taylor, fellow starter Bethany Doolittle, and reserve players Kali Peschel and Kayla Timmerman will return to the Gopher State. This will be the Black and Gold’s first trip north to Minneapolis since the 2010-2011 season, when Iowa won, 63-57, at Williams Arena. The recent history of success should inspire confidence, Bluder said.

“We just need to play our game,” Taylor said. “We’re good when we do that.”

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