IOWA CITY — Lisa Bluder had plenty of reasons to appreciate the way her Iowa women’s basketball team dismantled 12th-ranked Purdue on Sunday. About 600 of them, to be exact.
The Hawkeyes improved to 5-0 against ranked competition with a 62-46 victory over the Boilermakers in front of a crowd of 8,576 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the 600th victory for Bluder in a 29-year coaching career that began in Davenport at St. Ambrose.
“Anytime you reach one of these milestones, it means you’ve been around a long time, but it gives you a chance to reflect on the women you’ve been able to coach,” Bluder said. “I think about all those kids from St. Ambrose and Drake and here at Iowa and you remember those women who were part of your life.”
With the win, Bluder becomes the 25th women’s basketball coach with at least 10 seasons at the Division-I level to win 600 games and just the 42nd women’s coach at any level to reach that milestone.
In addition to a significant win, the Hawkeyes gave Bluder a performance to remember as they bounced back from a 65-56 loss at Michigan State on Thursday.
Iowa took a team that had lost only to Connecticut and Notre Dame this season out of its game from the onset, opening a 37-16 lead when Jaime Printy hit the sixth of the Hawkeyes’ nine 3-point baskets with 1 minute, 39 seconds remaining in the first half.
“We came out with confidence from the get go and the way we defended set a tone. We built our offense off of what we were doing defensively,” said Printy, whose game-high 15 points was matched by Melissa Dixon.
Purdue shot just 24.2 percent in the first half, hitting 8-of-33 shots, and the Hawkeyes collected 12 points off of nine Boilermakers turnovers during the game’s first 20 minutes.
Iowa (14-5, 3-2 Big Ten) led by as many as 23 points early in the second half before Purdue rallied, cutting the Hawkeyes’ lead to 52-43 following a lay-up by Courtney Moses with 5:26 remaining.
As she had nearly 4 minutes earlier when she drained a 3-pointer to grow Iowa’s edge to 52-39, Dixon scored a lay-up with 4:36 left that allowed the Hawkeyes to regain a double-digit lead that stuck.
“When they came back on us, we needed to get back to what we were doing in the first half,” Dixon said. “We needed to guard, take good shots and take care of the ball, and we did those things.”
Moses scored 11 to lead Purdue (15-3, 4-1), which was playing for the third time in seven days and had several players dealing with flu and minor injuries.
“We didn’t have our best, but that might not have mattered with the way Iowa came out to start the game,” Boilermakers coach Sharon Versyp said. “They did a fantastic job early and we had no legs to get ourselves out of the hole we dug.”
It was the type of effort Bluder hoped to see from the Hawkeyes coming off of a difficult road loss.
“I don’t know why we’ve been so successful against top-25 teams,” Bluder said. “I think our team embraces the underdog role a little … and maybe it sharpens our focus, and we know we can do it.”
By the numbers
Lisa Bluder’s career coaching record:
School (Years) W-L Pct.
St. Ambrose (1984-90) 169-36 .824
Drake (1990-2000) 187-106 .638
Iowa (2000-present) 244-149 .620
Overall (29 seasons) 600-291 .673