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Seniors relying on each other in season's final week

BY KYLE MANN | FEBRUARY 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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It’s the beginning of the end for the seniors on the Iowa women’s basketball team, as they enter the final week of the regular season. Only two games remain, beginning with Wisconsin at home today.

What arrived in Iowa City as the 11th-ranked recruiting class in the NCAA in 2011 — composed of Sam Logic, Bethany Doolittle, Melissa Dixon, and Kathryn Reynolds — has rewritten Iowa’s history books, and it will now try to use its most prized element to finish its final season strong: chemistry.

Logic has a 255-assist cushion as Iowa’s all-time assists leader and is third all-time in the Big Ten, while Dixon is Iowa’s all-time 3-point record holder and is also third all-time in the Big Ten. Doolittle is second at Iowa in blocks and owns the single-season record.

Despite all that, there’s one thing that has meant more to the seniors than anything else.

“Everyone says that these are the best friends that you’ll make, and I think that’s even more so,” Logic said. “The chemistry on this team, how much we love playing together, it’s grown every single year, and it’s something we’re proud of, and something that helps us win games.”

The team has praised its collective unselfishness all season long. Logic, who is genuine in her appreciation of the team-first culture, said that contributed heavily in her decision to commit to the Hawkeyes.

“It’s huge; it makes up for a lot of things,” she said. “It’s intangibles; we’re going to play hard for each other, we want each other to do well. It doesn’t matter who scores, who rebounds, who gets minutes, we’re happy with a win.”

For the first time this year, however, the Hawkeyes haven’t had the chance to be happy with a win for two games in a row. After falling to Minnesota on Feb. 17 and Ohio State on Feb. 21, the senior-led team has a goal in mind today. 

A win over Wisconsin tonight would ensure Iowa a bye in the first two rounds of the Big Ten Tournament, and Doolittle fully expects to see the team back on track in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We’re going to have to fall back on our chemistry a lot in these next two games,” she said. “I think we’ll be able to come back against Wisconsin and rely on our chemistry.”

If the team can finish these last two games with victories, it will be the first Hawkeye squad to go 16-0 at home. It seems only fitting, given the accolades and accomplishments garnered by its seniors — and coach Lisa Bluder has enormous confidence in their ability, to, as they have many times before, find ways to win.

“Their record the last time I heard was like 88-40. They’ve just done a great job as far as putting together wins,” Bluder said. “This is another group that leaves here, most likely, playing every year in the NCAA Tournament. We’re losing three 1,000-point scorers; this is a great group that has contributed ever since they walked on campus.”

So despite their first two-game skid of the season, the Hawkeyes have plenty of emotion and motivation to fuel them in the final week. They’re just glad to be back home and in control.

“Now we get to have the opportunity to control our own destiny on our home court,” Bluder said. “I don’t know what you could ask for that would be better than that.”

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


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