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Hawkeyes at home in Minnesota

[ 0 ] February 6, 2013 |

For Christmas break, the Timmerman family loaded up the family truckster to bring freshman Kayla home for the holidays to Wayzata, Minn.

The 6-foot-3 freshman post shared the back seat with fellow Minnesota natives 6-4 Bethany Doolittle (Oakdale, Minn.) and 6-1 Kali Peschel (Sauk Centre, Minn.).

“My parents are great,” Kayla Timmerman said. “The other parents were busy; we’re going that way, might as well pile them in.

“All of us in the back, sardines together. We called it team bonding time. It was fun.”

Well, there were a few elbows thrown.

“Three bigs shoved into a small back seat, the third row was filled with our luggage,” Peschel said. “The phones were out, naps, leaning on one another. It was a really fun ride.”

Iowa (16-7, 5-4 Big Ten) returns to Minnesota today, but not in the family truckster. It is a business trip, with the Hawkeyes set to face Minnesota (14-9, 3-6) and trying to break a two-game losing streak.

For those three Hawkeyes, plus St. Paul, Minn., native Theairra Taylor, the game is a bit of a homecoming.

“Which is fun for them to go back home,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “But also, there’s a lot of personal pride on the line when you’re from the state of Minnesota and you go back up there to play.

“I’m sure that will add a little bit of intensity to this rivalry that’s always been pretty strong.”

But there won’t be time for happy reunions if Iowa can’t reverse the recent losing trend. Losses to Illinois (13-8, 6-3) and Northwestern (11-11, 3-6) have left the Hawkeyes tied for sixth in the Big Ten with seven games to go.

“We really do need this win,” Taylor said. “Losing isn’t an option for us going into The Barn. So we have to go out there and play our butts off.”

Standing in the way is Gopher sophomore Rachel Banham, the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer (21.1 points per game). Banham has scored 80 points in the last three games.

“All-Big Ten caliber player, we have to keep an eye on her,” Bluder said.

Minnesota freshman guard Shayne Mullaney is averaging 3.4 assists per game.

Minnesota leads the league in points per game with 71.9, and has topped 80 or more in 10 games this season.

The Gophers are going to want up tempo. Iowa wants a return to fundamentals.

“I think the last couple of games have made us focus on going back to the basics and doing little things right,” Peschel said.

The Hawkeyes expect a lot of fans in Williams Arena, with all the native Minnesota players on the team.

“It means a lot,” Taylor said. “I’ve never played up there. I’m excited to get up there and play at The Barn.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

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