Hawkeye shining offensively


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The Iowa women’s basketball squad is in the midst of its second winning streak of four or more games this season. With a 10-1 record, two wins against ranked teams — Dayton and Syracuse, and a top-25 ranking, the Hawkeyes appear to be headed to another NCAA Tournament appearance — it would be their seventh straight.

But another look at the early statistics of this squad and one can see that not only could this team contend, it is among the elite teams in the Big Ten.

Team points per game — 84.1, 1st in the Big Ten

Iowa’s up-and-down pace has paid off so far this season. The Hawkeyes are not only first in this category, but the next team behind them in the Big Ten — Indiana — is 5.1 points per game behind, clearly establishing Iowa as an elite scoring team.

Another key to their scoring average being so high is the outburst of the last three games. In contests against North Carolina-Wilmington, Syracuse, and Idaho State, Iowa has posted scoring totals of 102, 97, and 95.

Much of this inflated statistic also has to do with Iowa’s increased pace — more possessions will likely lead to more points, but it doesn’t make what the Hawkeyes are doing on the offensive end of the floor any less impressive.

Team offensive rebounds per game — 12.6, 3rd in the Big Ten

This statistic may be the most surprising of the early season statistics.

Iowa’s tallest player is center Bethany Doolittle, who stands 6-4. The next tallest Hawkeye who receives significant playing time is Kali Peschel, who is 6-1.

Iowa is likely to be smaller than most teams that it plays this season, yet it is among the elite teams in grabbing offensive rebounds. As much as one hates to refer to the term of “wanting it more,” it’s hard to find another explanation for this statistic and it will be interesting to see how this aspect of the game plays out as the season goes on.

Bethany Doolittle field-goal percentage — 60.9, 3rd in the Big Ten

The Hawkeyes shoot a lot of 3 pointers — 24 per game. Whenever a team launches so many 3s per game, one must be aware that some games, the shots aren’t going to fall.

This is where Doolittle will play a key role. The junior center has been the most consistent of the Hawkeye players on the offensive end of the floor, and this is largely because of her efficiency on that end.

As the Hawkeyes near conference play, one can bet that a few games will come down to Doolittle getting high-percentage shots around the basket and converting them.

Melissa Dixon’s free-throw percentage — 91.7, 4th in the Big Ten

So far, Dixon’s season from behind the arc has been a tale of two parts. The first part of the young season saw a struggling Dixon, while recently, she has been unconscious.

One aspect of Dixon’s game that has remained constant is her ability to convert free throws.

Interestingly, Dixon shot 71 percent last season at the charity stripe, which makes her percentage this season a pleasant surprise for Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder.

The Hawkeyes have played five games decided by 10 or fewer points. These games can often come down to free-throw shooting late in games. One can bet Dixon will get the ball in these situations.

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