Nearly two months ago, the Iowa women’s basketball team was 0-2 in the Big Ten.
They had never started Big Ten play 0-3 under coach Lisa Bluder. Now, the Hawkeyes (21-7, 9-5 Big Ten) have won nine out of their last 12 games and head into undoubtedly the most important week of the regular season, beginning Thursday night against Ohio State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa is still in contention for a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament, which begins next week at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The top-four teams in the conference secure a bye. Purdue — one spot ahead of Iowa — is 10-5 in league play, with the Boilermakers’ final game Sunday against Nebraska (11-3), so there is a chance Bluder’s Bunch can advance past Purdue by week’s end.
“We have to rely on Purdue to maybe take a hit,” Bluder said. “They have a game with Nebraska as the last game of the year, so they have a tough situation. But all we can control is ourselves. We know that if we win out, we’re at least tied for fourth. It’s a pretty important week.”
The Black and Gold have had two three-game win streaks following losses this season. The Hawkeyes’ last loss, at Purdue, was followed with a 74-70 win over Michigan last Saturday. With two games remaining, another three-game streak could occur after a loss.
In a season that’s produced several different streaks, junior point guard Samantha Logic knows what’s on the table this week as the Hawkeyes prepare for the postseason. Iowa also has an opportunity to further its NCAA Tournament résumé, as it is 24th in RPI, a key element to the tournament selection process.
“We’ve been clicking at different aspects of our games for a while,” Logic said. “In the first half of some games, I think we were clicking on both ends, but we need to put together a full 40 minutes.”
SOCIAL MEDIA BLUES: In the wake of Iowa men’s player Zach McCabe receiving several comments directed at his Twitter account after Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin last Saturday, men’s coach Fran McCaffery mandated that his players close their Twitter accounts until the end of the season.
Bluder commented on the situation at her weekly news conference Tuesday, noting social media’s prevalence in collegiate athletics.
“I can’t believe some of the shots the players are taking,” Bluder said. “I admire Fran for how he stood up for his players. I’d like to think I would do the same thing. I think he’s handled this situation extremely well.”
Besides the notable exception of Logic, almost every player on Bluder’s roster is on Twitter. Assistant coaches Jan Jensen and Lacey Goldwire also have strong presences on the site.
So far, so good for the women’s program, whose players haven’t received the kind of feedback on Twitter or other social media outlets as the men’s program.
“I haven’t heard or see anything that’s been detrimental,” Bluder said. “It’s not a bad lesson for them to learn about social media — what they’re putting out there can have an impact on them later in life. We tell them that as a staff, but it’s a whole other thing to live it. It’s a valuable lesson to learn, but like any lesson, nobody wants to go through it.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball