Story of the Year: Iowa women's basketball

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | MAY 15, 2015 5:00 AM

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2015 was a wild year for Iowa sports.

An up and down season for Kirk Ferentz’s football program, Fran McCaffery taking the men’s basketball team to its first win in the NCAA Tournament in his tenure, Griesbaum-gate with the field-hockey program, and everything else all helped make this year a memorable one.

And while there was certainly no shortage of enormous stories in the world of Hawkeye sports, none were bigger than the season the Iowa women’s basketball program had.

The 2014-15 season was one of the most historic and important seasons for Hawkeye women’s basketball, as well as in the career of head coach Lisa Bluder.

Even when ignoring what it accomplished as a team, the women’s program was filled with individuals with incredible stories as well.

Bluder earned her 300th win as head coach of the Hawkeyes after knocking off Wisconsin on Feb. 26. She hit 600 wins as a career around the same time.

Iowa’s spectacular senior class was in the spotlight from the first day as well.

All-American Sam Logic capped off a dominant final season as captain in a historic way.

The Wisconsin native, who is Iowa’s all-time leader in assists, became just the fourth consensus all-American in program history and just the second Iowa player to be drafted in the first round of the WNBA draft, 10th overall by the Atlanta Dream.

Fellow senior Melissa Dixon cemented herself as one of the deadliest 3-point shooters in the country, let alone at Iowa.

Dixon, a 5-8 guard from Illinois, passed former Hawkeye standout Lindsey Meder as Iowa’s all-time leader in 3-pointers after a stunning 29-point effort against Northwestern that saw her shoot 9-of-10 from beyond the arc.

She also became the first Big-Ten women’s basketball player in history to lead the nation in 3-pointers per game with 3.65.

Bethany Doolittle developed into one of the most well-rounded centers in the Big Ten. She finished the season having played in every game during her Hawkeye career and ending up third all-time in blocks.

And while all of these individual efforts were momentous, when taking them in the context of the team as a whole, they become even more incredible.

Bluder’s Hawks finished with an impressive 26-8 record, the fewest number of losses for a Bluder-coached Iowa team since she took over in 2000.

The Hawkeyes went 18-0 on their home court, the best by any team in Iowa history.

What’s more, of the six games they did lose, three came against teams that were ranked in the top five in the country. The Hawks also registered wins against No. 16 Rutgers and No. 15 Nebraska twice.

Oh yeah, one more thing: The Hawkeyes reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 26 years.

Not since Vivian Stringer was head coach in the mid-90s has the women’s basketball team achieved what it did this year, and for that, picking it for Story of the Year seems like a no-brainer.

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

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