The Iowa women’s basketball team had just completed a regular-season sweep against Wisconsin on Thursday when coach Lisa Bluder was asked about the next opponent on the schedule — Michigan.
Iowa plays at No. 23 Michigan today, exactly three weeks after losing to the Wolverines 68-64 on Jan. 6 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I think we just say the word Michigan right now and all the hair raises on the back of our necks,” Bluder said. “We’re ready to get after it.”
Michigan, with records of 16-3 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten, has emerged as a conference contender under first-year coach Kim Barnes Arico. The Wolverines made 10-of-22 3-point shots in the first game against Iowa in Iowa City, while Iowa senior sharpshooter Jaime Printy missed all but one of her nine 3-point attempts in that game.
Starting center Morgan Johnson and starting forward Bethany Dolittle also struggled against Michigan in the first game, scoring seven points and one point, respectively.
“I have a lot of respect for them, a good basketball team that shoots the heck out of the basketball,” Bluder said of Michigan. “But we can shoot a lot better than we did the first that we played them. And I think we can defend better than we did, too. I think they got too many open looks.”
Printy shot a lot better against Wisconsin on Thursday, scoring a game-high 29 points, including 22 in the second half. The former Linn-Mar star made 8-of-10 field-goal attempts, including all three of her 3-point shots, and 10-of-11 free throws.
Printy also scored 14 consecutive points during one stretch late in the second half to help Iowa seize the momentum.
Iowa (15-5, 4-2 Big Ten) will play at Illinois on Thursday before returning to Carver-Hawkeye Arena next Sunday to face Northwestern.
Iowa already will have played home-and-away games against Wisconsin and Michigan before facing Illinois and Northwestern for the first time this season.
“It’s a weird quirk,” Bluder said of the schedule.
The Hawkeyes defeated Wisconsin 65-56 on Jan. 10 in Madison, Wis. It was Iowa’s first game since losing to Michigan at home four days earlier.
Bluder hopes the quick turnaround against Michigan will be beneficial.
“I don’t want it out of their minds,” she said of her players. “I kind of like having it there. I think it’s great motivation. I’m going to use it as much as I can.”
Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball