IOWA CITY – Lisa Bluder knew better as she sat in the bowels of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Iowa head coach witnessed too many basketball games to believe what came out Jaime Printy’s mouth.
“I guess I shot the ball pretty well tonight. Shots were falling,” the Iowa senior shooting guard said. Bluder turned to Sam Logic and chuckled under her breath, mimicking Printy, “I guess.”
The Big Ten leader in assists concurred with a smirk and a head nod.
“I mean I just didn’t want to lose this game,” Printy said in response. “Something just took over.”
It wasn’t something. It was Printy. The 5-foot-11 senior exploded for 29 points to carry Iowa to a 71-60 win over Wisconsin Thursday night.
Some of the 3,894 fans in attendance trekked to Iowa City to see Marion’s Morgan Paige return to her home state. The former Indian standout drained a 3-pointer early to eclipse 700 career points and finished with 14. But as fans exited the arena, Printy was the Marion native that left the lasting memory.
“Jaime Printy was a hero tonight in my opinion,” Bluder said. “We're down one point with six minutes to go, and she scores 14 straight points. That makes a coach's life awful easy.”
It also put to rest any life the Badgers’ comeback possessed. With 5:27 remaining in the game, Printy hit a floater in the lane to give Iowa a 53-52 lead. Thirty-one seconds later Wisconsin responded with a Jacki Gulczynski 3. Over the next 3:47 no other player on the court – Badger or Hawkeye – scored, except Jaime Printy.
“To be honest, I just didn’t want to lose,” Printy said. “We should be this team and we weren’t playing very good. I just didn’t want to lose.”
Printy picked up the slack of Morgan Johnson. Foul trouble held Iowa’s leading scorer to two points and four rebounds, well below or season averages of 17.9 and 7.7 respectively. The 6-5 senior picked up her fourth foul 4:09 into the second half. She didn’t check back into the game until 4:24 remained in the game.
“Morgan Johnson only plays 17 minutes, has two points, and we win the basketball game, and that's something to be celebrated,” Bluder said. “Not the part that Morgan only had two but the part that we won.”
Printy pulled the Hawkeyes to the win with 29 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. She also went 10-of-11 from the line.
Her near-perfect play translated to other areas as well. In the midst of her personal 14-3 run, she stood at the line looking to complete 3-point play. Instead of focusing on the free throw, Printy spun the ball in her hands and looked to Logic to set up the defense after the potential make.
“That one made me a little nervous to be quite honest,” Bluder said. “Because she was talking and all of a sudden she’s shooting.”
Printy buried the shot and the conversation paid off. On the ensuing Wisconsin possession, Printy pounced on a loose ball and called a timeout, allowing Iowa to retain possession before the jump ball call.
Out of the timeout she drove the left lane, fully extending her left hand for a made layup. It marked the ninth and 10th straight points. She’d score four more before the ball fell through the net for anyone else on the court.
One can only guess even 14 straight didn’t impress Printy.
“I didn’t know until right now,” Printy said. “You’re just kind of in the flow of the game. The ball needs to be scored. However it is, it is.”
IOWA 71, WISCONSIN 60
The "Double Bonus:" Gazette reporter Michael Bonner's quick reaction to Iowa's 71-60 win over Wisconsin in women's basketball on Thursday night.
Game Ball: Jaime Printy - Pieced together a personal 14-3 run that transformed a one-point deficit into a 10-point Hawkeye lead.
Lame Ball: Morgan Johnson - After scoring 23 points with 11 boards last time out against the Badgers, the senior finished with two points and four boards due to four fouls.
Light The Victory Cigar: 1:55 of the second half - Printy makes both free throws, her 13th and 14th consecutive for Iowa, to give the Hawkeyes a 10-point lead.
Watercooler Stat: The Badgers made one field goal in the final four minutes – by Morgan Paige with 24 seconds left. The Badger guard from Marion, Iowa, got her 701st career point when she made her second field goal of the night, a 3-pointer in the first half.
Big Number: 14 – The number of consecutive points by Printy in the closing minutes to give Iowa the lead.