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Hawkeyes hope strong play on road continues

[ 0 ] February 5, 2014 |

The more than 8,000 fans that showed up for Iowa’s matchup with Nebraska on Saturday made Carver-Hawkeye Arena feel like home sweet home for the Iowa women’s basketball team.

When it comes to picking up Big Ten wins this season, it’s been road sweet road for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa (17-6, 5-4) will be seeking its fourth straight Big Ten road win when it faces league-leading and ninth ranked Penn State at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Hawkeyes are 4-3 in true road games this season, but are 3-1 in Big Ten play away from home.

Iowa has won its last three conference road games after opening Big Ten play with a loss at Indiana.

“We’ve played well on the road,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “We’ve played better on the road, actually, than we have at home, so hopefully that will hold true.”

Iowa will try to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Nebraska on Saturday and will need to do so in one of the tougher venues in the Big Ten.

Penn State (17-4, 8-1) is 9-3 at the Bryce Jordan Center this season with two of those losses coming to the top two ranked teams in the country in Connecticut and Notre Dame.

The Nittany Lions are 3-1 at home in Big Ten play, the lone loss coming to Purdue on Jan. 12.

Penn State has won six straight since that home loss to the Boilermakers.

“We obviously know we are up against the wall going to Penn State,” Bluder said. “They are the number one team in the conference and top-15 ranked team in the country. They are a lot better than Nebraska on paper so we know we’ve got a tough challenge going on the road to play at Penn State.”

In order to continue its winning ways on the road, Iowa will need to find a way to slow a Penn State team that ranks second only to the Hawkeyes among Big Ten teams in scoring.

Led by Maggie Lucas, who ranks second in the league in scoring at 21 points per game, the Nittany Lions are averaging 76 points a contest and have upped that average to 79 points per game in their last three outings.

Penn State scored a conference-season high 87 points in a win over the Hawkeyes in Iowa City and held a 50 to 34 rebounding advantage in that game.

Iowa, meanwhile, is coming off a game in which it allowed Nebraska to shoot 50 percent from the floor while the Cornhuskers put up 80 points.

“We just have to come together as a group and figure out what we have to work on,” junior Bethany Doolittle said. “Transition defense, defense just overall, and that rolls into our offense. We definitely have a lot to work on, obviously, but I think we can come out and get Penn State.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

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