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Hawkeyes seek to finish regular season on high note

BY JACOB SHEYKO | FEBRUARY 26, 2014 5:00 AM

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With just two games remaining in the regular season, March Madness is nearly upon us.

But how the Iowa women’s basketball closes out these two games is much more important than simply padding its win totals.

Following their 74-70 win over Michigan on Feb. 22, the No. 25 Hawkeyes now own sole possession of fifth place in the Big Ten standings. With two wins to close out the season — and a Purdue loss — Iowa could move up to fourth place and receive a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

“We know they’re extremely important,” senior Theairra Taylor said. “Some of our teammates were talking earlier today about what we need other teams to do, and then Sam [Logic] and I came into the locker room and [said], ‘We just need to worry about what we need to do.’ ”

The Hawkeyes will face Ohio State at home, then go to Illinois. Iowa has beaten both of these teams earlier in the season.

But head coach Lisa Bluder has already recognized some differences between how those teams once were and how they’re playing now, particularly Ohio State.

“They’re a better 3-point shooting team than the first time we played them,” she said. “The first time we were able to play mostly zone and pack it in on them.”

Twitter on the team

Following the men’s basketball Twitter fiasco this week, Bluder spoke about social media on her team.

Just about all of the players have a Twitter account, as do the coaches. Even Bluder has recently begun tweeting. And although her team hasn’t received the level of berating from fans that the men’s team has, she realizes the potential dangers of Twitter.

“They love their social media; kids love it,” Bluder said. “But when you have things like this happen, you realize also the bad parts about it. And that’s a good lesson for the kids to learn at this time of their lives.”

This perspective may have something to do with her praise of Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffrey and his handling of the men’s basketball’s current situation.

“I admire Fran for how he stood up for his players; I would like to think I’d do the same thing,” Bluder said. “I think he’s handled this situation extremely well.”

Collecting accolades

The Hawkeyes rejoined the AP top 25 this week. They had been ranked earlier in the season, but two-straight losses at the start of Big Ten play kicked them out for around eight weeks.

That’s not the only honor Iowa has been awarded with this week, though. Logic was named a Lieberman Award watch-list finalist — an award given to the nation’s top point guard.

This is nothing new to the cocaptain, though. Throughout this season, Logic has collected numerous awards, including Big Ten Player of the Week honors three times.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” she said. “But at the same time, we’re focused on winning; we’re focused on Ohio State.”


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