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The Box Score: Hawks face big, bad Bears

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | MARCH 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s basketball team hopes to keep its postseason run alive on Friday as it heads to Oklahoma City to take on No. 2 seed Baylor.

The Bears were the best the Big 12 had to offer this season, finishing first in the regular-season standings with an overall record of 32-3. But how do they stack up against a prototypical Big Ten team such as Iowa?

A closer look at the numbers reveals some interesting facts.

Scoring Defense — Iowa 72.4, Baylor 56.6

At first glance, it looks like a pretty lopsided matchup defensively for the Hawkeyes. And at second glance. And third, and, well, you get the idea.

The Bears were absolutely stifling defensively in 2014, finishing with the third-best team defense in the Big 12, while the Black and Gold’s mark of 72.4 was dead last in the Big Ten.

What’s even more astounding than scoring defense is scoring margin. Iowa’s plus-7.5 scoring margin was in the top three in conference; however, Baylor finished the year at plus-21.5.

No one else in the Big 12 finished higher than plus-9.5.

Clearly, the Hawks have their work cut out for them defensively against the Bears, who also boast the conferences best scorer in sophomore Nina Davis.

Scoring Offense: Iowa 79.9, Baylor 79.8

The one area in which these two teams are remarkably similar is scoring offense, with the Hawks averaging a little more than 0.1 of a point more per game.

And it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has watch a Lisa Bluder-coached team the last five years. The Hawks are one of the most efficient shooting teams in the country and have the nation’s best 3-point shooter in Melissa Dixon.

But all of this comes with a huge context, that being the competition. It’s tough to really make an apples-to-apples comparison between the offenses because they’ve played in wildly different conferences all season.

Both were lethal relative to their respective conferences, however. Baylor finished shooting 48.1 percent from the field, and the Hawks finished slightly below that at 45.8 percent.

Interestingly enough, the teams have two common opponents this year: Iowa State, which lost to Iowa in Carver-Hawkeye but knocked off Baylor in Ames, as well Arkansas, which defeated the Hawkeyes, 77-67, in November 2014.

Baylor defeated the Razorbacks last week, 73-44.

Rebounding margin: Iowa minus-4.4, Baylor plus-12.1

One area that has killed the Hawks more or less all season could end up being a game-breaker come Friday. Baylor rebounds the ball better than almost any team in the country on both offense and defense.

It’s also not just a matter of shutting down a dominant post player such as Minnesota’s Amanda Zahui B.; the Bears have eight players who average at least 3 boards a game, including Davis at 8.3.

The Hawks have just three, seniors Bethany Doolittle and Sam Logic, who each average around 7 a game, and sophomore Ally Disterhoft, who averaged 5.9.

The Hawkeyes a lot of areas to improve on if they want to beat the Bears; however, rebounding would probably be a good place to start.

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


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