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Hawkeyes head home after five game road trip

BY JACOB SHEYKO | DECEMBER 04, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s basketball team is finally home.

After 10 days on the road, the Hawkeyes will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday to face No. 22 Syracuse. The game will be Iowa’s first home game since Nov. 17.

In the Hawkeyes’ four home games this season, the Hawkeyes have yet to lose.

“Cancún was obviously really fun,” freshman Ally Disterhoft said. “There was some great bonding, and we picked up some big wins down there, but I think we’re all excited to be back on our home court playing in front of our great fans.”

The Hawkeyes faced five opponents on their road trip and went 4-1 in those games — their only loss was a 3-point defeat at the hands of No. 11 Colorado.

Following games at Colorado and Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes headed to Cancún, Mexico, and left with three more wins on top of being crowned the Cancún Challenge champions.

“They prepared for each game like they were preparing for the Big Ten championship,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “That’s what I like to see out of this team — their intensity for each opponent. And that carried through on the floor for every game.”

Among the elite

Aside from preparing for a long-overdue home game, the Hawkeyes will also come into their matchup with Syracuse ranked for the first time this season. Iowa received 93 votes, good enough for No. 25.

“It’s a nice pat on the back for a job well done,” Bluder said. “That’s how we look at it. We congratulate the team and now we’re on to the next opponent because they’re ranked a little higher than we are. It’s a short-lived thing, but we take pride in it.”

Of the top 25 teams in the nation, no team other than Connecticut has more wins than the Hawkeyes. And while the general consensus of the team is that the ranking is an honor, don’t expect the players to get hung up on being considered among the elite in the nation.

In fact, the only thing that may change is the target that gets placed upon Iowa’s back for each game, because opponents will look to knock off a ranked opponent.

“We have to be ready for it,” point guard Sam Logic said. “Like we used to be going into top-25 team games, that’s what teams are going to do to us now.”

A balanced attack

The Hawkeyes are averaging 81.4 points per game, and most of that can be attributed to their offensive balance. The Hawkeyes have four players averaging double figures in points. That number is almost five, but senior Theairra Taylor is just short with 9.4 points per contest.

“It could be a different person every night,” Bluder said. “Sam could lead us one night, Bethany another, and Melissa … I like that.”

With all members of the team so willing to pass, Iowa has had a new player step up in each game. This willingness starts with Logic — who can find herself some games with 20-plus points and in other games finish with single-digits points but a collection of assists.

“I think you just kind of go with the flow of the game,” she said. “See what your team needs. And if it’s not scoring, then I don’t really care to do that if I don’t need to.”


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