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Hawkeyes wary of revenge-driven Gophers

[ 0 ] January 28, 2014 |

The Iowa women’s basketball team got its revenge on Indiana on Saturday.

Now the Hawkeyes will try to assure they don’t find themselves on the opposite end of another Big Ten conference rematch.

Iowa avenged an 86-84 conference-opening road loss to Indiana with an 84-75 win over the Hoosiers on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes return to action Wednesday when they face Minnesota for the second time in 20 days at 7 p.m. at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

“The first thing I reminded our team of after we beat Indiana is that revenge was sweet but the same thing is being said up in the Minnesota locker room right now as they prepare for us,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Our team knows that they are going in there with a target on their back. They understand that.”

The Hawkeyes used a late second-half surge to notch a 78-71 come-from-behind win over Minnesota on Jan. 8 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

That win snapped a two-game losing skid to open Big Ten play for the Hawkeyes and started a stretch in which Iowa has won four of its last five games.

Iowa’s only loss during that stretch was an 88-72 home loss to Michigan State.

“When I watched the first time we played Minnesota, it was far from our best game. There are a lot of areas that we can improve on from that game,” Bluder said. “That gives you some comfort as a coach because we didn’t play very well and we won, so now you say we can win on the road.”

Iowa is coming off its best shooting performance in Big Ten play.

The Hawkeyes shot 54 percent from the floor against Indiana on Saturday and made 19-of-23 free throw attempts against the Hoosiers.

However, it was the Hawkeyes’ defensive effort on Saturday that Bluder pointed toward as the difference.

Iowa forced the Hoosiers into 22 turnovers and scored 29 points off turnovers in Saturday’s win.

“We scored as many points at Indiana as we did at home, it’s just that our defense held them to 11 less points,” Bluder said. “Now we did shoot better from 3-point range than we did at their place, no doubt about that, and we shot the ball better from the free-throw line.”

Bluder is hoping Iowa is able to make the same type of defensive adjustment the second time around against Minnesota.

Junior guard Rachel Banham leads the Big Ten in scoring at 22.8 points per game and had 32 points when the two teams met in Iowa City.

Behind the shooting of Banham, Minnesota leads the Big Ten in 3-point percentage at better than 42 percent.

Banham ranks second in the conference in both made 3-point field goals (57) and 3-point percentage (46.7), while senior Sari Noga has made 43 3-pointers and is shooting at a 39 percent clip from 3-point range.

Banham and Noga combined to go 9-for-18 from 3-point range in the first meeting with Iowa.

“Going up to Minnesota, in my mind the key is 3-point defense,” Bluder said. “It’s getting out and covering on the 3-point shooters, because they shoot a lot of them and they shoot a very good percentage. But there are only two people that we have to really worry about, there are two people we have to key in on.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

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