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Hawks' streak on line

BY JACOB SHEYKO | JANUARY 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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When the Iowa women’s basketball team defeated Indiana on Jan. 25, head coach Lisa Bluder said the Hawkeyes had gotten one back, referring to Indiana’s beating Iowa earlier in the season.

But that tone quickly shifted to looking forward to Minnesota, a team that the coach believes has looked forward to the matchup with Iowa ever since the Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers on Jan. 8.

“I did remind our team after the game that Minnesota’s saying the same thing right now about us,” Bluder said. “Because they lost at our place, and now we are heading up there on Wednesday.”

Winning may be easier said than done for the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s victory over Minnesota came by just 7 points. But had Minnesota’s leading scorer Rachel Banham not missed a portion of the second half, the result could have been different.

Aside from the difficult task of shutting down the Big Ten’s leading scorer in Banham, the Hawkeyes face another difficult task: completing a three-game winning streak in conference play, something they’ve yet to do this season.

If there was ever a time to do so, it would be now.

The Hawkeyes head into their matchup with the Gophers playing perhaps their best basketball of the season. Winning four of their last five, the Hawks have taken advantage of fast starts and a balanced scoring attack to propel them to the top half of the Big Ten standings.

“We have confidence from winning at Ohio State and Wisconsin,” Bluder said. “I think that gives us a lot of confidence going to play at Minnesota.”

But it’s not just the team that aims to keep rolling — a number of individuals will try to make their marks as well. None of those more important than junior point guard Sam Logic.

Logic established herself early in the season as a candidate to make the All-Big Ten team. Her recent play has made that an even better possibility.

In Big Ten play, she is averaging 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. But as always, what stands out to her teammates is 7.4 assists per game.

“Sam finds who is open … She’s just good at finding the open person,” Theairra Taylor said. “She’s just a great passer.”

Another player hoping to keep the momentum is center Bethany Doolittle. The 6-4 junior has proved her worth on both ends of the floor by averaging 16.1 points per game and leading the Big Ten with 3.6 blocks per game.

“I just try to get my hands up there and get any tips I can,” Doolittle said after a 7-block performance against Indiana — one shy of tying the school record. The performance moved her into fourth all-time in shots blocked at Iowa.

Needless to say, the game comes down to the team performance. And as a team, the Hawkeyes will try to put an end to an up-and-down conference season. With the current weather sweeping the Midwest, there’s no better way to describe the Hawkeyes’ recent play than how Bluder did.

“So I feel like right now our team is feeling good about themselves, and it’s like a snowball. It keeps getting bigger and bigger as you roll it along, and that is the way our team is flowing right now,” she said. “So hopefully, we’ll take that snowball right up to Minnesota.”


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