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Lisa Bluder | Iowa Hawkeyes Women's Basketball Head Coach

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
March 18, 2024 6:07 am

Lisa Bluder | Iowa Hawkeyes Women's Basketball Head Coach

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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March 18, 2024 6:07 am

Iowa Hawkeyes Women's Basketball Head Coach Lisa Bluder joins the show to preview the NCAAW Tournament for the #1 seed Hawkeyes. How does the team deal with the spotlight of Caitlin Clark? What makes this team so special?

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Call 562-314-4603 for details. It's the first number one seed for the Hawkeyes since 1992. Before you were there, Coach Bluder, in a season full of history and milestones, what does that mean to you? You know, really, it just means that the nation has respect for our program. To me, it's just a number. Last year, we were a number two seed. We were the national runner-up.

So, to me, the numbers, you know, are irrelevant. But for status reasons and for recruiting reasons, it's nice to have that number one label. I could imagine that. And you all knew, of course, that your big 10 champs, you're likely to get that respect going back even a week ago. So what's this last week been like for you with no games and maybe a chance to breathe?

That's been exactly what it's been, a time to breathe, which has been so welcomed. I mean, our players were exhausted after playing three games in less than 48 hours, which is unheard of for the Big 10 championship. And they were just exhausted, and our coaching staff was too.

So we really needed some time to kind of reset, rest the legs a little bit, and then have some good prep practices to get ready for this NCAA tournament. Just mentally, what's it been like for your group to go through all the attention, all the the extra that comes with being a team in the spotlight? You know, it's been a blast. I mean, people are like, you know, is it been hard?

No, are you kidding? This is what we've been trying to get for years. We've been trying to get people to understand how good our game is. And we've been trying to get these crowds. And when I first came to Iowa, you know, 24 years ago, I walked in with my two assistant coaches and says, wow, can you imagine if we could ever fill this place?

And now and now every single game has been sold out all year. And so, you know, it's a dream. And we're not going to complain about that dream. Coach Lisa Bluder of Iowa is with us here after hours on CBS Sports Radio. I got to tell you, my mom knows very little about sports. I mean, she followed me when I played and she knows what I do for a living. But she has been texting me almost every time the Iowa women play a game during the Big 10 championship going back to the big senior day where Caitlin had another record. My mother is texting me Are you watching?

I'm watching. I mean, that's just in my own world, the impact of what your team has done. Is there any way for you even to summarize the way that this team is impacted, not just the sport, but sports in general?

It's hard for me to put my hands around my mind around all the way. But what I absolutely love is that people have fallen in love with this team. And I think it's because we play a really fun style and we lead the country in scoring, we lead the country in assists.

We lead the country in field goal percentage. So I think we play a really fun style. And I think you can recognize that our kids are having fun out there.

They enjoy each other. They, you know, are doing some spectacular things when you're Caitlin Clark that nobody else can do, which is fun to see. But I really think we've brought a lot of joy to people. And as a basketball coach, if I can do that with our team, I mean, that just brings a lot of pleasure to me that we're providing that for other people. Did you ever think a women's Big 10 championship game would be on national TV on CBS broadcast live last week?

And drop what, 4 million people or something like that? You know, I mean, that's amazing. People are talking about the women's game right now. And I love that. I, you know, it's just so it's like I said, we've worked for this for a long time. So it's very special.

And we're gonna, we're gonna take it and try to soak it all in. And what a game it was going into overtime. You all were down double figures in the first half. Caitlin isn't scoring or the shots aren't there, or they're not dropping. How well she sets up her teammates. Have you seen that part of her game grow over the course of her time at Iowa? Well, she has, I mean, grown immensely in that area.

And the last two years, she's led the country and assist as well as points. And so she has understood that she can't do it all. Like when she was in high school, she, you know, tried to do everything herself because she had to.

And when she got to college, it took her a little time to understand, Oh, I got some pieces around me that, you know, they can pick up some slack for me once in a while. So, um, you know, when people try to stop her, I just love that other people are stepping up into that, into that spotlight, you know, in that game against Nebraska, Kate Martin and Gabby Marshall block instead of holsters, you know, play all through the tournament was just spectacular. It also really stands out to me how much they appear to be psyched for Caitlin and happy for Caitlin, where it doesn't appear as though there's any jealousy or any envy, but instead, they're all just so thrilled to be a part of, of this experience.

That's absolutely right, Amy. I mean, they are, well, first of all, Caitlin is a good teammate and she always is trying to build her teammates up or credit them for their success. And she wants to share the wealth with them. She wants to share the spotlight with them. And so in return, you know, they're, they're not jealous. They see how hard she works and they want her to have all these good things happen to her because she's such a fun person to be around.

Coach Lisa Bluder of Iowa is with us here after hours, CBS sports radio, a number one seed, trying to get back to that final four and another shot at a championship. And you said it's fun and you're having a good time, but it could still be a lot in terms of media and just the demands on time. I'm sure social media as well.

So have you seen them grow into that? Well, I try to tell them to avoid social media if they can, like, I know they have to post, I get that, but I'm like, don't read it. You can post it, but don't read it. And all the comments and such. Now, I don't know how much they heed my advice, but that is my advice to them.

Um, just cause there is a lot of haters out there and you don't want to read that stuff. Um, but with the media, you know, we try to screen as much as we can so that they're not over inundated with requests constantly. Um, and you know, I think last year's experience really prepared us for this to last year's experience of being in the championship game and all that came with that. Um, and then the return home and then the, obviously the, you know, the circuit for Caitlin going around to collect all the awards that she won. I think it prepared us for this situation this year. What's different about your team now from a year ago, coach. We're faster than we were. Um, I will say that, um, we get up and down the court a lot better. We're a better rebounding team than we were last year. Um, and now, you know, we just, we have some really good experience. I have, you know, three starters in the starting lineup or played in the national championship game, started in the national championship game last night.

That's a tremendous experience. My mom would be upset if I didn't ask about Molly, how's she doing? I love it. Tell your mom that Molly is doing okay. She's not doing as well as we'd like her to do. Uh, we, we were hoping she going to be further along right now than she is. I don't know what her status is going to be for this weekend. Um, but she'll be, she'll be on the bench headband and all, no matter what, uh, you're an Iowa lifer.

I actually was speaking to a reporter not that long ago. And I asked her why you were the right leader, the right coach for this team and for this time. And she said, because she's Iowa. So what makes Iowa so special when it comes to not just basketball, but women's basketball and that tradition, you know, Iowa has been always ahead of everybody else as far as basketball. For example, we played basketball in the state in the 1920s. We were having girls basketball in the 1920s and pack stadiums, uh, sold out stadiums in the sixties, seventies to watch girls play basketball. So, uh, you know, when we brought in women's sports here at Iowa, um, 51 years ago, Dr. Christine grant was our, our, our athletic director and Dr. Grant was a pioneer for women's athletics. She was a, you know, uh, campaign for gender equity and title nine over and over again. So, you know, maybe title nine wasn't born here in Iowa city, but it sure grew up here.

And we are very proud of our heritage that we have with women's rights and women's athletics here at the university of Iowa. And even thinking back to, we'd mentioned that other number one, see to the last one in 92 and see Vivian Stringer and what she meant in growing the program as well in college sports have changed too. Do you ever look around and think, wow, it has grown and changed so dramatically. It's almost hard to keep up sometimes.

It is hard to keep up. And I'm so thankful that coach Stringer was here because she really put, you know, I won the map. She wasn't the first coach here. She was the third coach here. Um, but certainly she was the first coach that got resources here and she did such a marvelous job and, you know, we're friends to this day and I'm so thankful for the start that she gave to this program.

Um, and I know like, you know, back then everybody thought, you know, Iowa was drawing these, these great crowds and they were back then, but I look back at those numbers and they were like 7,000, 8,000. So, I mean, women's basketball just nationally has just exploded and it's just fun to be on this side of it. I'm going to say we, because I played college basketball too. How do we keep that going?

How do we continue with the momentum to the point where this isn't a flash in the pan? This is people really understanding why women's basketball is special in its own right. Well, I think for example, Amy, you said I was the first female coach you've ever had on the show.

Well, there you go right there. Like we need to keep having exposure, whether it's television, whether it's radio, whether it's newsprint, um, it, you know, the exposure is what gets people's attention. If they don't know about you, you could have the best products out there, but if they don't know about you, they're not going to be able to talk about you or see you. And so the exposure has grown for women's athletics and with it, a longer come of the attendance.

I really believe that we have a great product and we need to, we need to be able to showcase it. What does a Final Four do for a program when you get to one and you have all the attention and the nationally televised games, how has life changed for you as a coach after a Final Four? You know, it hasn't changed a whole lot. Um, you know, it really has another, I might get a few dinners bought for me downtown, but you know, other than that, it hasn't, it hasn't changed a whole lot.

Still the same old coaching staff as we always were. Well, the challenge obviously is that you're not going to catch anyone by surprise, right? Everyone knows who you are and what Kaitlin and your group brings to the table. I just love that the girls continue to talk about wanting to be national champs.

It's not just about the attention or about the, you know, Kaitlin's records. It's also about winning. Where do you get to the place or what does it look like, coach, when you're playing your best basketball?

It's beautiful. Like I always tell the team, like, it's like a dance and I know that sounds kind of corny, but to me it is, it's like a synchronized dance. Like when we're all moving and the spacing on the floor is perfect and we're passing the ball and for wide open shots, to me, it's just a beautiful dance. And that's, you know, like you said, you know, everybody's kind of got our like circled us on the calendar. We've played in so many intense environments all year this year. I do think we are prepared for the NCAA tournament more so than in the past, just because of the environments that we've played in. Are you expecting your fans to travel well? Um, I, you know, if there's tickets to be bought in Albany, they'll be there. I know they will, but we had 17,000 come up to Minneapolis last weekend, you know, to watch us play up there. I just believe that if there's tickets in Albany and if we can get by these two games, and those are two big gifts, right? I mean, West Virginia, Princeton are going to be a great eight, nine matchup.

Um, then, then they'll be there. It is kind of fun though, to know that your team has become one for which fans are jumping on the bandwagon, right? Like that's how, you know, you've transcended your sport, your state. People are rooting for you all over the country that never knew anything about you until a couple of years ago.

Yeah. I mean, we go now, you know, on the road and people in Ohio state gear or got Kaitlin Clark signs and, and, and, and, and, you know, people are waiting all over the country to see her play. I mean, they may not be Iowa fans, but they might be Kaitlin Clark fans and we'll take it. Cause then they're coming to watch our game and that's good for the opponent is good for us too. So we'll take it no matter how we get them.

Hmm. Coach Lisa Bluder, it's such an honor to have you on the show, as you said, and as I told you, first ever female coach that I've had on a selection Sunday night, my mom's a big fan. So thank you for what you've done for women's basketball and for a few minutes tonight. Tell your mom I'm her fan too.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-18 08:25:50 / 2024-03-18 08:33:22 / 8

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