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The Box Score: Inside Iowa women's basketball statistics

BY JACOB SHEYKO | NOVEMBER 21, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Box Score is a weekly segment in which a Daily Iowan basketball reporter uses statistics to contextualize the Iowa women’s basketball team’s performance over the course of the season.

The Iowa women are off to another hot start to the season under head coach Lisa Bluder. As of this writing, Iowa has a record of 4-0.

It’s pretty clear that the Hawkeyes have the ability to compete with anyone, despite their lack of size. And while a sample size of four games may be small, there are some statistics to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

Team 3-point percentage — 27.8 percent (10th in the Big Ten)

This is not so much a knock on Iowa’s 3-point shooting ability, but rather it makes their scoring rate of 80.2 points per game look all the more impressive.

The Hawkeyes are hoisting an average of 24.25 3s per game and making around 6.8 of those attempts on average. If the Hawkeyes ever start turning these misses into makes, they could become a threat to reach 90 points on a nightly basis.

The key to this is to get junior guard Melissa Dixon back on track from long distance. The usually dependable shooter has struggled form deep in the early going this season — she’s shooting 16.7 percent from behind the arc.

Opponent’s field-goal percentage — 29.3 percent (2nd in the Big Ten)

This stat may be deceiving because the early portion of Iowa’s schedule hasn’t exactly been filled with premier teams. But nonetheless, anytime a team holds its opponents under 30 percent from the field, it’s going to win a lot of games.

This stat is even more surprising when you think of the Hawkeyes’ size in the post. Other than center Bethany Doolittle, the Hawkeyes tallest active player that sees significant minutes is Kali Peschel — who stands at 6-1.

With this limited size, one would think that teams would live in the paint and put up efficient shot after efficient shot. But for several reasons this hasn’t happened.

The first is the defensive play of the guards. There has been only one game in which Iowa players have struggled with foul trouble, and in all other games, the Hawkeye guards have done an exceptional job staying in front of who they are defending and not even giving them a glimpse of the paint.

The other reason is Doolittle. Everyone knew of her defensive abilities last season when she was paired with former Hawkeye Morgan Johnson. But this season, she’s the lone shot-blocking threat, and the Hawkeyes need her more than ever. So far, she’s delivering.

Through Iowa’s first four games, the junior is averaging 4.25 blocks per game. And that’s with her playing just 25.8 minutes per game because of the large leads that the Hawkeyes have had in three of their four games.

Assists per game — 20.8 (1st in the Big Ten)

Bluder-coached teams have always had a knack for sharing the ball, but this year’s squad has taken that to a whole new level.

The Hawkeyes have made 115 shots from the field. Of those 115 makes, 83 of them have come on an assist. Or in other words, just about 74 percent of Iowa’s baskets are going in as result of an assist.
To put this in perspective, last season, Iowa assisted on 64 percent of its field goals.

Part of this is because of floor general Sam Logic. Logic has always been a pass-first point guard and this year is no different. Logic is leading Big Ten players in assists with 7.8 per game — the next closest is averaging 6 per game.

The other reason is the pace at which the Hawkeyes play. Iowa has a lot of speed and uses that to its advantage. This fast pace leads to fast-break points with easy assists.

And also the mere number of shots Iowa is putting up is cause for inflating its assists. But that doesn’t take away from the impressiveness of the stat.


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