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Numbers back up Iowa’s success at home

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | MARCH 03, 2015 5:00 AM

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Sunday night was a memorable one for the Iowa women’s basketball team.

Not only did the Black and Gold honor seniors Sam Logic, Melissa Dixon, Bethany Doolittle, and Kathryn Reynolds with a postgame ceremony they deserved of their massive contributions to the program, the Hawks also wrote their names into the history books by becoming the only team to go 16-0 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in program history.

The record was yet another historic milestone for Iowa in a season that seemingly passed a different landmark almost every week. Not that that makes the mark any less impressive. 

“You play at home in a place like Carver, the fans who come really give you energy,” head coach Lisa Bluder said after the win Sunday. “You want to win for them. It’s so meaningful that so many people came out to show how much they admire these girls.”

But more than just crowd noise and energy went into those 16 wins. 

After all, the Hawkeyes did manage to win seven games away from Carver as well, including an upset at No. 16 Rutgers and their first win in Lincoln, Nebraska, since 2005, against a ranked Husker team, no less.

So how has Iowa managed to get wins this season? Turns out there are more than a few factors at play.

Starts have been everything this season for the Black and Gold. For a team that leans heavily on the dynamic ability of its outside shooters for most of its offense, heating up early is paramount for success.

In the team’s nine home wins against conference opponents this season, they took a lead into the half eight times. Only their Jan. 26 upset victory over Nebraska had the Hawks coming from behind in the second half to pull out a victory. 

That holds true on the defensive side of the ball as well. While the Black and Gold were relatively consistent in putting up points in both the first and second half all year, they have been prone to big swings by the opposition in the final 20 minutes of play.

In the first half of games this year, Iowa has given up 974 points in 29 contests, an average of 33.6 points per first half. 

That number jumps up to 38.27 points in the second half. 

And while a nearly 5-point swing may not seem like much, the Hawks have been outscored in the second half of every single loss they’ve had this year. That’s more than a little bit of a coincidence. 
And whether you’re a buyer into fans affecting the product on the court, as Bluder described, take the following into account.

There’s no doubt that the Hawkeyes feed on the atmosphere and energy in Carver-Hawkeye on game days.

It’s not terribly surprising when considering that Iowa averages the second-highest home attendance in the Big Ten with 4,851 per game, just a hair behind Purdue, which draw an average of 4,866 a game.

True, Iowa will not have the game-changing home atmosphere with them when they head to Chicago for the Big Ten Tournament beginning Friday, but neither will the other 13 teams in attendance.

There’s been more to their wins than home-court advantage, and more to their losses than a lack of that home court, and how Iowa handles and adapts to these trends will dictate how they perform in the Big Ten Tournament.

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


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