Hawkeyes try to avoid letdown against Northwestern


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The Iowa women’s basketball team defeated No. 9 Penn State on Feb. 6. Afterwards, head coach Lisa Bluder described the locker room as one that nobody on the team wanted to leave.

Rightfully so —it was the team’s first road win against an AP Top-10 opponent since 1993.

“It was a special time to spend with your team,” Bluder said. “And we wanted them to enjoy that.”

But the Hawkeyes’ biggest challenge now is moving past that win and avoiding a letdown when Northwestern comes to town on today.

The last time the Wildcats came to Carver-Hawkeye, they defeated Iowa on a buzzer-beating lay-up. The loss knocked the Hawkeyes out of the AP Top 25.

But this Northwestern team is unlike any Bluder has seen in year’s past.

“They used to have some really big posts in there,” Bluder said. “And they just don’t have that anymore. But they’re almost a harder matchup now because they don’t have a true post or power forward. They almost play five guards out there.”

Bluder gave her team the day off on Feb. 7, but she also made it clear that they needed to be ready to reload and play Northwestern

“I think we’re going to come in with a lot of momentum,” freshman Ally Disterhoft said. “I think we had regained some confidence that we may have lost in our loss to Nebraska. We’re confident in ourselves, we believe in each other, and we’re going to carry that into our next couple of games.”

Interestingly, that the Hawkeyes play at home doesn’t seem to be that much of an advantage as one would think.

Iowa is 10-3 at home this season, but that’s including an 8-0 home record in nonconference play.

Since the Big Ten season has begun, the Hawkeyes have gone 2-3 at home, compared with their 4-1 record on the road in the Big Ten.

“It’s kind of strange,” Bluder said. “We’re really not playing our best games at home. We’ve got to reverse that trend this week.”

This is partially because of the opponents Iowa has faced at home, all three of their losses in Carver-Hawkeye have come against ranked teams.

But it also may have to do with their mentality going into those games.

“We definitely should be able to do the same at home,” junior Bethany Doolittle said. “I think our mindset on the road is a little bit different. Just going into somebody else’s place and being able to beat them is kind of a big deal for us.”

One thing that could certainly get the Hawkeyes up to play is that Monday night will also be the first opportunity for Bluder to become the all-time winningest coach in Iowa women’s basketball history.
Bluder is currently tied with C. Vivian Stringer at 269 victories at Iowa. And while the record may be important to some, Bluder hasn’t made it seem so to her.

“The win was far more the story,” said Bluder about whether the winning record had crossed her mind at Penn State. “Far more the story.”

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