No. 21 Iowa ready for road matchup with No. 17 Iowa State


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Whenever the Iowa women’s basketball team suits up to play Iowa State, the game takes on a much larger significance.

But for the first time since 2010, the No. 21 Hawkeyes’ matchup with No. 17 Iowa State will pit two ranked teams against each other, bringing a larger importance to the Cy-Hawk rivalry.

“Having to play in one of the toughest environments, against a ranked opponent, on the road,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It’s just an important week for us, and it’s a fun week.”

The Iowa women have sprinted out of the gate this season. Of all the ranked teams, Iowa is tied for the most wins in the country with 10, two of which came against ranked opponents.

But take the two-hour drive from Carver-Hawkeye to Hilton Coliseum in Ames, and you’ll find a team enjoying just as much success as the Hawkeyes this season.

The Cyclones come into this match boasting an 8-0 record, and they have done so in dominating fashion. Of their eight wins, all of them have come by 11 or more points.

“We’re definitely the underdogs going in there,” Bluder said. “A team that’s ranked higher than us in every poll. And a team that is playing on its home court.”

That home court Bluder speaks of is even more of an advantage for Iowa State than it is for most teams in the country.

Last season, the Cyclones went 13-2 in front of their home fans. They also drew the second largest attendance in the nation last year with an average of 9,970 fans per contest. This year is more of the same with Hilton Coliseum seeing approximately 10,157 fans per game.

For some Hawkeyes, this will be their first time seeing action in the Cy-Hawk rivalry. But that doesn’t mean the rivalry is unknown to them.

“Obviously, I’m really excited,” freshman Ally Disterhoft said. “Just living in the state of Iowa my whole life, I understand that rivalry and understand how big of a game this is.”

But luckily for the Hawkeyes, it’s not all first-timers. Instead, they have a handful of experienced players who were not only on the team for Iowa’s last game in Hilton — a 62-54 loss in 2011, but played major roles. One is junior point guard Sam Logic.

“Now that we’re both ranked teams, it might be a bigger crowd than when I was there,” she said.

“You have to know that it’s going to be loud, it’s going to be feisty, and it going to be hostile. We just have to be ready.”

Aside from the imposing crowd, the Hawkeyes have plenty on their hands with Iowa State’s Hallie Christofferson.

The 6-3 senior is averaging 25 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season. In each of their eight games, she has led the Cyclones in scoring. Iowa will need to slow her down if they have any chance of coming away with their third win over a ranked opponent.

But that may be easier said than done.

“Hallie Christofferson is as good as any player we’re going to see this year,” Bluder said. “She is a very tough matchup for us.”

This won’t be the first time the Hawkeyes face a ranked opponent on the road.

On Nov. 20, Iowa lost on No. 11 Colorado’s home floor, 90-87. Despite being the only blemish on Iowa’s near-perfect record, the Hawkeyes believe they gained valuable experience from it.

Needless to say, they hope for a different outcome when they take the court for the 43rd game between these two programs.

“We saw what happened [in Colorado],” Logic said. “But now we have to put two halves together at Iowa State.”

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