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Hawkeyes seek redemption against hot Indiana squad

BY MATT CABEL | JANUARY 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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Lisa Bluder only had to write one word on the board to get her team fired up for its next Big Ten matchup.

Indiana.

“You just have to say ‘Indiana,’ and it kind of fires us up,” guard Sam Logic said.

It all comes down to a program on the rise. Indiana women’s basketball didn’t have the respect of the league for years. The Hoosiers had a 13-0 record heading into its matchup with Iowa on Jan. 2, and yet the Hawkeyes still overlooked them, said head coach Lisa Bluder.

“I don’t know that I had [the team’s] whole attention last time,” Bluder said. “… I don’t know if we realized how good of a basketball team they were, just because of their history. Now, there’s no sneaking up anymore. They will have our full attention and our full preparation for that game.”

After that matchup, despite a furious Iowa rally, the Indiana winning streak went up to 14 with an 86-84 win over the Hawkeyes on Jan. 2 in Bloomington. Iowa rallied from a 12-point deficit to cut it to 2 points, but it wasn’t enough, and the Bluder Bunch suffered its first loss to the Hoosiers after winning the last seven.

“They’ve usually been at the bottom since I’ve been here,” Logic said. “Now, they’re working their way up now; they’re playing really good basketball. It shows that you really can’t have an off night — it’s so balanced now in the Big Ten.”

But just because the team is fired up about its opponent, Logic warned against letting passion get in the way of playing fundamental basketball.

“At the same time, you can’t go in too fired up,” Logic said. “You have to have that focus, that precision, like you do in any other game. Otherwise, you know, it’s going to be counterproductive to what you do.”

Indiana basketball has long held a prestigious legacy on the men’s side, but the women’s side of the court has been different, until last season. Bluder attributes this change to head coach Curt Miller, hired prior to the 2012-13 season, and she praised his ability to win and his offensive strengths.

“Indiana used to not be able to score, so that was very helpful in playing against them,” Bluder said. “Now, they’re a totally different mentality as far as scoring, as far as competitiveness. Before they were a little downtrodden — they really didn’t feel good about themselves … then when you win 13 games in a row in the nonconference, you believe you can win. They didn’t have that belief before.”
But besides the opponent itself, Logic said that her team will need to focus on making smart passes, taking smart shots and playing well in front of the home crowd.

“No motivation needed,” freshman Ally Disterhoft said. “We lost up there earlier in the season, and we’re really ready to get out there and get after it; hopefully, get a big win in front of our fans.”

Iowa’s previous loss to Indiana not only soured the opening of conference play for the Hawkeyes but also knocked the then-22 ranked squad out of the national rankings.

Now comes a chance at redemption.

“A game that we definitely didn’t play up to our potential or anywhere near,” Logic said about the first matchup. “Credit to them, they played well at home, they knocked down a lot of 3s. We just have to be ready for that and come in here on Saturday and prove our point.”


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