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Iowa women's basketball poised for success in postseason

BY MATT CABEL | FEBRUARY 18, 2014 5:00 AM

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I have a hunch about the Iowa women’s basketball team.

It’s more than a hunch, actually. It’s a strong feeling in my gut. And my gut feelings are usually pretty accurate — scratch that, dead on.

This hunch? I believe that the Iowa women’s basketball team is poised to make a big run in the 2013-14 postseason: either in the Big Ten Tournament, the NCAA Tournament, or maybe even both.

On first impressions, the women’s basketball team seems kind of … well, lacking, particularly in the depth department. And it’s true. You know it, I know it, everyone on the team knows it. Five players on the squad average double-digit scoring on the season. That’s not a random thing: that’s by design, and by necessity.

If even one of those players didn’t average above 10 points per game, the team probably wouldn’t be at its current 20-win mark.

And yet, despite the lack of depth, Iowa is one of the highest scoring teams in the Big Ten.

There’s just something about the way that this team has won and lost games. The players have seen it all. Absolute thrashings from Nebraska, Penn State, and Michigan State, all on their home court.

They’ve seen an upset of No. 9 Penn State in State College. They gritted out wins against Northwestern and Illinois and were an Ally Disterhoft jumper away from earning another win against a ranked team Sunday in West Lafayette, Ind.

Teams gain just as much from losses as they do wins, and this is evidenced by the Hawkeyes. To turn around and topple Penn State mere days after a loss to Nebraska, which was ranked more than 10 spots lower than the Nittany Lions, takes good coaching and attention to a lot of detail. The same will probably occur from the loss at Purdue, especially since the team has the entire week off after playing three games last week.

Even though the team is lacking in the depth department, there was a bright spot against Illinois — Nicole Smith was able to play her first minutes of the season after requiring knee surgery after the team’s preseason game. It’s unlikely that the sophomore will garner much playing time, but she’s another body, and a presence in the post — something the Hawkeyes desperately need. She’s also a wrinkle in the scouting report, should Bluder ever decide to throw Smith into the heat of things because of early foul trouble.

Last, but not least, is the level of basketball that guard Sam Logic has reached. The junior registered her third triple-double of the season against Purdue and was near a quadruple with 6 steals. Logic is, to put it lightly, playing out of her mind right now, and that will only help the team when it matters: March. The team seems to be a lock for either the fourth or fifth seed come the Big Ten Tournament, and it will probably earn a seven, eight, or nine seed come NCAA Tournament time.
There just seems to be something special about this season. The come-from-behind wins, responding to adversity, playing good basketball at the right time. This team has shown that it’s capable of great basketball.

Now we just have to wait and watch the results.


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