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Bluder talks Nebraska, rest of season

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | JANUARY 21, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Hawkeyes sit at No. 22 in the country at 14-3. Their 5-1 mark in the Big Ten ties them for second in the conference with Minnesota as they head into a pair of home games this week against Michigan and Nebraska.

Another crack at Nebraska

The Cornhuskers have provided head coach Lisa Bluder with consistent problems since that team joined the Big Ten in 2011.

In fact, in the four seasons that Nebraska has been a Big Ten member, it has never lost a game to Bluder and the Hawks, including a 72-65 victory over Iowa in last year’s Big Ten title game.

Jan. 26 will provide Bluder and the Hawks another crack at the Huskers.

“Top to bottom, they’re just a really good team,” Bluder said. “I really think that’s the best way I can put it, honestly. They’re a great team with a great coach who is always well-prepared.”

Senior captain Sam Logic has accomplished quite a bit in her Hawkeye career, but a win over Nebraska has proved to be elusive. Beating the Huskers would be another piece to putting together a satisfying senior season.

“Obviously, as a competitor, you want to beat them,” she said. “You want to play against the best, and they’ve traditionally always been right up there.”

Bench still a work in progress

Iowa has been the beneficiary of some quality performances from its bench players, who have provided the team valuable minutes in more than a few close situations this season.

While the Hawks have seven players averaging double-digit minutes per game, Bluder would still like to see more out of her role players.

“I’d still like to see some more from them,” Bluder said. “I think Alexa [Kastanek] can give us more, same for Christina [Buttenham]. We need to work on trying to get them a little more involved.”

For Bluder, high motors and players who are willing to go to the tough areas of the floor provide just as much value as those coming off the bench strictly to score.

“I think the big mistake these kids get into is thinking that points are the only way they are going to been seen is by contributing offensively,” Bluder said. “If shots happen and baskets happen, beautiful.

“But that’s really secondary to defense, and rebounding, and running the offense.”

Home sweet Carver

The Hawkeyes have been unflappable at home this season, boasting a 10-0 record in Carver Hawkeye Arena, 24-4 over the last two years.

That record bodes well this week, because Iowa will have the luxury of facing both Michigan and Nebraska in Iowa City on Thursday and Jan. 26.

“I think it’s the environment more than anything,” senior guard Melissa Dixon said. “We have so many fans who come out, plus just being familiar and in your element, we just play really well here.”

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


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