IOWA CITY (U of I) — If Jaime Printy was “back” during the women’s basketball season-opener against Northern Illinois, she is really back now.
The senior guard led all scorers with 26 points, hit a game-tying 3-point field goal with a second remaining, then added eight points in overtime to pace the University of Iowa to the finals of the Preseason WNIT with a 69-63 win against Middle Tennessee Wednesday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes (3-0) will host North Carolina (3-0) in the Preseason WNIT final Sunday, Nov. 18, with a 3 p.m. tip.
“If I can risk stating the obvious, it’s nice to have Jaime Printy back,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “What can you say about that last shot (in regulation)? Her whole game, but that last shot in overtime, the free throw production, some of the passes she had to Morgan (Johnson). This was a great win for our program this early in the year.”
Printy was 11-of-11 from the free throw line, and made all six of her free throw attempts in overtime. She also handed out six assists. But the play the 1,691 in attendance will remember most is her third 3-pointer of the game — with Middle Tennessee players Caroline Warden and Shanice Cason draped all over her — to force overtime.
“We were told Sam (Logic) was going to try to get in the paint and hit someone,” Printy said. “(Melissa) Dixon and I were both spotting up, Sam found me and I let it fly. It felt good when it left my hand, so it was just a good feeling.”
The assist was the 10th of the game for Logic, who finished with a game-high 12.
Johnson scored 20 points and eight rebounds. She was 8-of-10 from the field; her final basket -- off an assist by Printy -- gave Iowa a 56-50 lead with 2:04 remaining. The Blue Raiders scored seven straight points in 63 seconds, and led 59-56 with nine seconds remaining.
The stage was set for Printy’s huge 3. Iowa took the lead for good with 3:12 left in overtime with a made free throw by -- you guessed it -- Printy.
“You can learn a lot through a loss, but I’ve always felt you can learn a lot through a win, too,” Bluder said. “I don’t want to have losses to put ourselves in that learning situation.”
The Hawkeyes had 22 assists on 24 field goals and shot 43.6 percent for the game (24-of-55). For the second game in a row, the Hawkeyes blocked 1o shots -- five by Bethany Doolittle.
“We really stress assists,” Bluder said. “We stress getting the high-percentage shot and we think that comes through having assists and distributing the ball.”
Although Middle Tennessee held a 46-40 edge in rebounding, the Blue Raiders had just 12 second-chance points from 22 offensive rebounds. Iowa scored 11 points off 11 offensive boards.
“We were much more productive with the ball when we got it, and they were padding their (rebounding) stats a little bit,” Bluder said.
The Hawkeyes and North Carolina will meet for the fourth time, bit the first time in Iowa City. The Tar Heels won the last meeting, 79-67, in 2010. North Carolina advanced to the Preseason WNIT final with a 63-48 win over Georgetown.
“One of our goals at the beginning of the year was to get to the championship of the WNIT,” Bluder said. “Now we’re going to reassess those goals and win this thing. That’s going to be our next goal.”