Three games in seven days.
That’s the route the Iowa women’s basketball team embarked on to open Big Ten play, with games on Jan. 2 at Indiana, and Penn State and Minnesota at home on Jan. 5 and 8.
Now, on to Wisconsin, for the fourth conference matchup within 11 days.
Quite a stretch.
No other team in the Big Ten has played that much in so little time to open league play. Indiana, for example, hasn’t hit the hardwood since its game against Iowa. Wisconsin will enter its third game at noon Sunday against the Hawkeyes. The Badgers have beaten Illinois and lost to Michigan.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder noted the team’s plan during those first three Big Ten games. Iowa (13-4 overall) went 1-2, recording its first win on Wednesday 78-71 over Minnesota.
“We went pretty light (at practice) on Monday, and I think that was good for their legs just because we haven’t had a day off since before the first Big Ten game, now,” Bluder said. “Three days before the first Big Ten game, so it’s been a long time.
“Playing at home definitely helped. The energy of our crowd definitely helped … being smart with their legs was probably a good thing.”
After two clunkers with Indiana and Penn State, Iowa was able to avoid an 0-3 start in conference on Wednesday. The Hawkeyes trailed 35-32 at halftime but were able to storm back with a victory over the Gophers.
Samantha Logic played all 40 minutes, pacing the Black and Gold yet again. She is averaging 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and seven assists per game this season.
Logic will be returning to her home state Sunday. The 5-foot-9 guard is a native of Racine, Wis. No other player on Iowa’s roster is from America’s Dairyland. The Badgers’ Morgan Paige is from Marion.
Bethany Doolittle also emerged from Wednesday’s win. The junior center scored 19 points, pulled down six rebounds, had two blocks and didn’t turn over the ball. Doolittle said Iowa has to carry its prowess from Wednesday’s performance on to Wisconsin.
“We need to keep the energy we had in the second half,” she said. “Whether it’s off the bench or making our shots or passes, we just need to keep it rolling.”
After Sunday, the Hawkeyes will have a day off before returning to practice to get ready for Michigan State on Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
After a loaded schedule on the front end of Big Ten play, it will be a nice change of pace for the conference’s top-scoring offense. Or maybe it doesn’t matter, after all.
“Sometimes, you know, you’re 20 years old, you forget about that stuff and just play with great energy,” Bluder said. “It’s amazing. You forget how tired you are and you just play hard.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball