Iowa women’s basketball returns home after a week in the sunshine


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Trisha Nesbitt woke up in her own bed Thursday morning for the first time in a week.

A long trip that included three basketball games in five days in the Sunshine State finally came to an end Wednesday night after a tough loss in Tallahassee.

The senior guard, still a little disappointed, said it was nice to be back in Iowa City. The weather was naturally colder than when they left on Nov. 21. But to be back in a routine, Nesbitt said, felt good.

“It was tough, especially after losing [to Florida State],” she said. “But it feels so good to be back.”

The memories of games past are soon to be lessons learned. But the trip wasn’t a complete loss.

Nesbitt said the team’s hotel was situated right next to a beach, giving the Hawkeyes a nice view in the evening before dinner. The Hawks never trekked out to catch some waves during their time off — head coach Lisa Bluder made sure the team practiced each day they didn’t have a game — but the women took pictures, using the ocean as a backdrop.

Many of the athletes’ families also made the trip to Florida to watch the women play and celebrate Thanksgiving in the sunshine. Nesbitt said it was nice to relax with everybody’s families. It helped the team strengthen its chemistry.

“It’s fun to go and do something fun together as a team,” she said. “We grow closer and closer off the court by experiencing those opportunities together.”

The Black and Gold also made their way to American Airlines Arena on Nov. 24 to watch LeBron James and the Miami Heat beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. Theairra Taylor, a self-proclaimed LeBron fan, was more than excited to watch her idol live and in-person.

Treats such as the game in Miami are usually on the agenda for the Hawkeyes during road trips. It helps to let the team recuperate after a tough practice earlier in the day — or in this case, help raise spirits after an agonizing loss to Florida International.

“Our coaches always try to do something for us on these trips,” Taylor said in a release after the Miami Heat game. “I’ve wanted to see LeBron play for years. He is my favorite player … It was an amazing experience.”

The relaxation was nice, but the Hawks know another tough opponent in Northern Iowa awaits them on Saturday. That means new schemes and game plans for Iowa, starting today after having Thursday off to rest from the late-night traveling.

Bluder knows exactly what her team needs to accomplish in order to be prepared for the Panthers. After a performance against Florida State that included 24 turnovers, coaches will emphasize ball control. Slowing down the pace will be key for Iowa, as many of its mistakes came from pushing the pace faster than usual.

It will help, though, that the Hawkeyes will be inside Carver again, where they’re 4-1 this season.

“Anytime you play at your home court, it’s an advantage,” Bluder said on Nov. 11 after a home victory over Illinois State. “It’s fun that we get to play on our home court and share this with our fans.”

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