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Iowa women's basketball has nothing to lose against Iowa State

BY MATT CABEL | DECEMBER 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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In Lisa Bluder’s 13 going on 14 years coaching the University of Iowa women’s basketball team, she has never won a matchup in Hilton Coliseum, home of the Cyclones.

Bluder’s Bunch will have its only opportunity in the next two years to do so on Thursday when the Hawkeyes travel to Ames for this year’s Cy-Hawk matchup, a game that Lisa Bluder will go into the game “with nothing to lose.”

“We already have some signature wins, we already have a good nonconference record,” Bluder said. “We just need to go in there, and play as well as we can, and let the chips fall as they may. This has traditionally been won by the home team, and we know that … we’re definitely the underdogs going in there.”

But just because the Hawkeyes haven’t won in Hilton, just because they’re the underdogs, doesn’t mean they’re going into the matchup with the No. 17 Cyclones with a loss in mind. 

“It has to start sometime; you have to get a win sometime over there for [Bluder],” guard Sam Logic said. “We feel really good about our team this year — but they have a good team, they’re ranked 17th in the country for a reason.”

Dixon one of the best shooters Bluder has ever seen

It’s almost becoming cliché to talk about Iowa guard Melissa Dixon. The junior, last year’s Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year, started the season in a slump before beginning one of the hottest streaks of her life, scoring just over 27 points in each of her last three games.

Iowa’s go-to shooter from downtown has had the support of her coaches and teammates all the season, despite the slump. And her coach said the junior may be one of the best 3-point shooters she has ever seen.

“She [has] an incredibly quick 3,” Bluder said. “You fall asleep on her, and she can have 6 on you real quick. She can get you back into a game very quickly — it’s nice to have a player like that on your team.”

Push-ups for points

Bluder and her team like to have fun. It’s evident on the court, where her team runs a high speed, up-tempo offense that has scored near 100 points in each of its last three games and racks up assists on a high number of its baskets.

And while the team’s offense is laudable, the coaching staff wants to see defense — so much that Bluder and her coaching staff do push-ups for every point her team holds their opponents under its scoring average.

The coaches will also round up one extra push-up, which means that the Iowa coaching staff did 14 push-ups after the Hawkeyes’ defeated Idaho State — who averaged 60 points going into the contest — on Dec. 5.

“Twenty-three has been our most so far,” Bluder said. “It’s helping us coaches. It’s OK.”

The Hawkeyes will have to hold the Cyclones under 64.8 points on Thursday if they want to see more pushups out of their coaches — a challenge that will be hard, especially with Iowa State’s Hallie Christofferson on the floor.

“Sometimes, you just have to have fun with it,” Bluder said. “Anytime they see the coaches do something out of their element — granted, it’s probably hilarious to see us do push-ups — it makes it more fun for the players.”


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