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Hawkeye women finish strong

IOWA CITY– Do you believe in miracles?
It might not have been as big as the US hockey win over Russia in the 1980 Olympics, but for the Hawkeye women to start out 1-6, last in the Big Ten, and then to finish 9-2 has to be one of the best turnarounds in recent history.
Iowa’s 68-60 overtime win at Wisconsin last Sunday gave the Hawks a 17-10 record, 10-8 in the Big Ten which will give them the third place seed in the Big Ten tournament this weekend.
“We might be the happiest third-place team right now in the country,” said Head Coach Lisa Bluder. “Seven weeks ago we were sitting in 11th place and everybody counted us out.”
The Hawkeye women finished their last regular season home game with a solid 76-64 win over Indiana.
Kelly Krei, who had her first double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, opened the game with a 3-pointer.
“I loved to see the 13 rebounds out of Kelly,” said Bluder. “It’s something we really asked her to do all year long.”
Then the Hawks went cold and made only one basket in the next 12 attempts.
“We missed a lot of open threes at the beginning of the game,” said the coach. “I really didn’t worry about it because I thought they were good shots, they just weren’t dropping. Percentages usually end up balancing out and I thought we did a better job in the second half getting the ball inside and not relying on those 3-point shots.”
This is why Iowa wins.
Coach Bluder has always stressed balanced scoring (Iowa had four players in double figures), they work inside and out, they play defense and hit free throws (the Hawks finished 15-16 from the free throw line, including 10 straight to finish the game).
It also doesn’t hurt to have Kachine Alexander and Kamille Wahlin on your side. Kach had 15 rebounds, eight assists and seven points while Kamille had 10 points and four assists… both played 35 minutes.
Joann Hamlin was the only senior to speak afterwards on Senior Night and if the NCAA has a clue, she might get to do it again next year.
You can always wonder how fast Morgan Johnson (who led Iowa with 18 points) would have developed if Joann would have played this year. Can you imagine Joann and Morgan on the front line at the same time?
Morgan also had three blocked shots. That puts her four shy (68) of the school and freshman blocks record. Tangela Smith had 72 in the 1994-95 season.
Congratulations to Jaime Printy for scoring the most points of any freshman to ever play at Iowa. Her 17 points passed Lisa Becker who had 416 points in the 1983-84 season.
Jaime now has 428 points. She also set the all time freshman record for 3-pointers made with 50. Lindsey Meder had the old record with 49.
Jaime is another player that stepped up because of injuries. Hannah Draxton was penciled in as the starter when the season began and Theairra Taylor played in 10 games before going out with a torn ACL. Both play the same position as Jaime.
Theairra averaged eight points, five rebounds and over one steal a game starting eight times.
There’s no way Iowa gets its 16th win without Jaime and Morgan stepping up big time.
Iowa followed that with a huge overtime win over the Badgers in Madison.
What a great win, what a fun team to watch.
Iowa was up 33-21 but the Badgers came back to tie it in regulation.
What a great birthday present for Kachine, who had 19 points and 14 boards playing 42 minutes.
How about Kamille, who played 40 minutes, hitting a big three in OT with the clock running down. She led Iowa with 20 points and four assists.
Kelsey Cermak came off the bench, also hit a couple of big threes and finished with seven points.
When you only have eight scholarship players available it helps when all eight contribute and they did.
“This has been one of the more enjoyable years,” said the coach. “Probably because of the adversity we’ve had to overcome and that’s what’s made it really special.”