Hoopsters go for first win in Ames since 1989


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The Nesbitts may be the only ones with welcoming arms for the Iowa women’s basketball team today in Ames. The family of freshman (and Ames native) Trisha Nesbitt will welcome the Hawkeyes for a pregame meal today.

Once Iowa heads to Hilton Coliseum, the Hawkeyes (5-4) will be in for a different reception when they take on Iowa State (5-1) at 7 p.m. today. The game is a part of the annual Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk series, and it will be broadcast live on Mediacom Connections.

The Cyclones’ home arena will undoubtedly provide one of the most hostile crowds the Hawkeyes will see this season. Excluding a game against Penn on Nov. 27, attendance has averaged more than 9,820 for ISU’s three other home games.

Iowa’s last victory in Ames came on Dec. 17, 1989. Since then, the Hawkeyes are 0-5 on the road against their in-state nemesis, including an 0-4 mark under head coach Lisa Bluder.

The 10th-year coach knows the atmosphere will be a new experience for her young squad. With senior JoAnn Hamlin and junior Kachine Alexander still sidelined, no Hawkeye with prior minutes in Hilton will be available for Bluder.

“We know what type of audiences and attendance they get,” Bluder said. “We’ve been trying to prepare our players for the type of arena they’re going to face. Even though a lot of them didn’t play here a couple years ago, they know about it. It makes it a little bit easier when they’re from the state of Iowa, and they know the reputation.”

Bluder, an Iowa native herself, has three fellow Iowans available to play tonight. Junior Kelsey Cermak (Norwalk), freshman Jaime Printy, and Nesbitt all hail from the Hawkeye State. Printy, who shares Bluder’s native town of Marion, is aware of the challenge awaiting her and her teammates.

The 5-11 guard sees the game as a great opportunity for her team, and despite the Hawkeyes’ last two losses — to Michigan and Boston College by a combined eight points — she said the team will keep battling.

“Yeah, it stinks that we lost a couple of close ones,” said Printy, who is averaging 11.3 points, 4.0 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game in her first collegiate season. “But we’ve been right there the whole time. Just having that confidence and knowing that we can play with anyone really gives us a boost.”

Not only will Bluder’s Bunch be met with the hurdle of a hostile crowd, but they will face a pretty good team, too.

Iowa State enters tonight’s clash having won four straight. The Cyclones also boast four players scoring in double figures, led by senior Alison Lacey at 16.0 points per game.

Iowa sophomore point guard Kamille Wahlin will assume the task of chasing her around. Lacey is coming off a 27-point, eight-assist performance in Iowa State’s 80-64 victory over Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Sunday. Twenty-one of Lacey’s points came on 3-pointers.

“I think Alison Lacey is so good,” said Wahlin, who is averaging 17.1 points per game. “She can take the ball to the hole. She has great range. She can shoot way beyond the arc. I just have to make sure that I try to stick with her and do what I can to defend her.”

Wahlin’s defensive effort against her counterpart may prove to be the key. And the 5-8 point guard may thrive in the sea of Cyclone fans.

Wahlin said she enjoys louder environments and thinks tonight’s game will be a lot of fun.

“You can always expect a good game,” she said. “Both programs are going to prepare well. All the players are going to come out ready to go.”