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Iowa women's hoops coming back from successful break

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | JANUARY 20, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s basketball team did everything but take a break over winter vacation.

The past four weeks has been more than just a little bit eventful for the Black and Gold, with the start of Big Ten play, a rise and fall in the top-25 rankings, and a few personnel milestones occupying the Hawks over the holiday break.

And with the spring semester kicking off today, head coach Lisa Bluder’s team is eager to stay in the swing of things after a memorable January. Here’s a rundown of what happened during break.

Big Ten kickoff

The Hawks opened Big Ten play on Dec. 28, 2014, with a win over Penn State, and since then, they’ve gone 5-1 in conference matchups in the New Year.

Bluder and the Hawks notched an impressive road win over No. 16 Rutgers on Jan. 4 before suffering an upset loss of their own to Illinois on the road four days later. 

The team has managed to stabilize since then, winning three straight, and despite the loss to Illinois, Iowa is still sitting pretty, tied for second in the conference with Minnesota at 5-1.

What’s more, the No. 22 Hawkeyes’ most recent victory, over Michigan State on Sunday, was the team’s first victory over the Spartans in East Lansing in 11 years.

Personal Milestones

A few members of the Hawkeyes had memorable January for personal reasons as well as team success.

First and foremost, senior Melissa Dixon became the all-time Iowa leader in 3-pointers after she nailed six triples in the win over Rutgers. 

Dixon passed former Hawkeye Lindsey Meder’s career total of 263 treys with still half of her senior schedule left to play (Meder was invited to participate in the men’s 3-point contest at the Final Four her senior season). The Illinois native has morphed into one of the deadliest 3-point shooters in the country, ranking near the top nationally in total 3s made and shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

Dixon was not the only senior who eclipsed a personal milestone during break. 

Center Beth Doolittle joined teammates Dixon and Samantha Logic in the 1,000-point club, becoming just the 33rd player in Iowa history to hit the mark. 

Doolittle earned the honor after a standout performance in the win over the Nittany Lions that saw the 6-4 senior turn in 12 points and 11 boards.

And with sophomore Ally Disterhoft closing in on 800 points as just a sophomore, the Hawkeyes could have four of their usual starting five in the 1,000 point club by the season’s end.

Tough road ahead

The last month has been anything but relaxing for the Hawks, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

Iowa have set itself up pretty nice for a strong run to close out the season, but the next four games will be against some of their best competition yet.

After closing out its current home stand against No. 17 Nebraska on Jan. 26, Iowa will go on the road to Northwestern and No. 9 Maryland. The conference newcomer Terrapins have been the class of the Big Ten so far this season, posting an impressive 15-2 record, 6-0 in the Big Ten.

Follow @ryanarod on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s basketball team.


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