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Iowa unveils new women's hoops coach

IOWA CITY, Iowa, April 7 -- A pregnant Lisa Bluder, who led Drake to four consecutive 20-win seasons and is expecting her second child any day now, Friday was named women's basketball coach at the University of Iowa. In 10 years at Drake, she posted a 187-106 (.638) record and averaged 23 wins per year during the last four seasons.

Drake advanced to the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four years and reached the semifinals of the Women's NIT in 1999.

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Bluder led Drake to five 20-plus win seasons in the last six years, including five post season appearances. She guided the Bulldogs to eight Missouri Valley Conference tournament appearances, reaching the tournament semifinals six times and winning the tournament four times.

Bluder, a native of Marion, Iowa, has a career record of 356-142 (.715), also recording a 169-36 (.824) mark in six seasons at St. Ambrose, an NAIA school. The 1983 graduate of Northern Iowa University was a three-year starter as a collegiate player.

"We are extremely pleased and excited to have a coach of Lisa's caliber join our staff," said Iowa women's athletic director Christine Grant. "She's compiled an impressive record during her career and we anticipate the same success at Iowa that she achieved St. Ambrose and Drake."

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On Jan. 22, 1998, Bluder registered her 300th win at age 36, becoming the fifth-youngest coach to reach that plateau.

"I am extremely proud and honored to be given the opportunity to coach at the University of Iowa," Bluder said. "I always said it would take the perfect opportunity to make me leave Drake University and I feel this is the perfect position with endless potential."

Bluder inherits an Iowa team that went just 9-18 last season, including a 6-10 mark in Big Ten play, but returns all five starters and every member of its 13-player roster this past season. She succeeds Angie Lee, who unexpectedly announced her resignation Feb. 28.

Iowa won Big Ten regular-season crowns under Lee in 1996 and '98 and the conference tournament in 1997. In her first season at Iowa in 1995-96, Lee was named Big Ten Coach of the Year after the Lady Hawkeyes went 27-4 and won a pair of games in the NCAA Tournament. They also made NCAA Tournament appearances in 1997 and '98.

A 1984 graduate of Iowa, Lee has an overall record of 84-59 and a 59-33 mark in Big Ten play.

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