What Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder is changing for this Final Four

What Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder is changing for this Final Four

The Hawkeyes have been here before, last year in fact. This isn’t their first rodeo in the Final Four.

They felt ready on the basketball court and on the big stages with big-time pressure. But it’s off the court where head coach Lisa Bluder said she and the team maybe got caught up in the attention last year. Now she can apply some of what she learned from that experience.

Bluder said she and her team made a pact to limit distractions going into this tournament. She’s making an effort to protect her players from any additional obligations or events.

“One mistake I made between the two games last year that I learned going into this year, is there are so many other distractions and you have to protect your emotional energy,” Bluder said. “And it’s really hard to do when all these people around you — whether it’s parents, people asking you for tickets, this media obligation or that. I’m really cautioning them on that. I’m talking about it more. You’ve got to protect yourself. You’ve got to figure out ways to invest in your emotional energy, whatever it is for you, so I’m not having the team be required to go to so many offsite activities as I did last year.”

One exception was the presentation of the AP player of the year award to Caitlin Clark on Thursday. All of her teammates showed up for that.

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<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Iowa;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Iowa</a> head coach at practice with Caitlin Clark as the Hawkeyes prepare for the Final Four in Cleveland. (Blake Hornstein, Hawkeye Headquarters)

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