March 6, 2013
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- 2013 Big Ten Tournament Information
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There have been indications of greatness by the University of Iowa women’s basketball team this season. There was also a late-season slump.
Sophomore guard Samantha Logic wants to see consistency when the Hawkeyes open the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
“We need to prove to ourselves what kind of team we can be,” Logic said Wednesday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We have had really good glimpses and we had a pretty bad streak, so it’s being that consistent team that is in every game — that’s what we’re capable of being.”
Iowa won seven straight times from Dec. 1 to Jan. 3; the Hawkeyes also lost five in a row from Jan. 31 to Feb. 14. They head into the Big Ten Tournament with a record of 19-11 overall, 8-8 in the Big Ten, and riding a two-game winning streak with victories in three of the their last four outings.
The up-and-down, back-and-forth nature of a basketball season is reflected in the results between Iowa and Northwestern, its first-round opponent. The Wildcats won the first meeting 67-65 in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes won the important rematch in Evanston, 62-45.
Now the teams meet again four days later, with postseason hopes at stake. Northwestern is 13-16, 5-11.
“We obviously know our opponent. It gives us a little confidence going in there against them knowing that we did beat them on their home court last Sunday. For us, it’s a whole new season. We don’t care what your seed is, we don’t care what our seed is, it’s an opportunity to go in and start fresh and have another season. It’s kind of rejuvenating.”
Iowa basketball coach
“We obviously know our opponent. It gives us a little confidence going in there against them knowing that we did beat them on their home court last Sunday,” Bluder said. “For us, it’s a whole new season. We don’t care what your seed is, we don’t care what our seed is, it’s an opportunity to go in and start fresh and have another season. It’s kind of rejuvenating.”
Iowa and Northwestern play the first game of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, with an 11:30 a.m. (CT) tip. The winner plays No. 2 seed Nebraska on Friday at 11:30 a.m. Iowa is the No. 7 seed, Northwestern is No. 10.
The Hawkeyes enter the tournament with as much momentum as sophomore guard Melissa Dixon enters with confidence. On Monday Dixon was named the Sixth Player of the Year in the Big Ten, an honor supported by her team-leading 197 points in 16 league games (12.3 points per game) and 46 3-point field goals. During wins against Indiana (Feb. 28) and Northwestern (March 3), Dixon averaged 21.5 points with 10 3-point field goals.
“I’m glad we play (Northwestern) again right away,” Dixon said. “It’s fresh in our minds and we have a lot of confidence. It will be a lot of fun.”
Iowa has won four of the last five meetings against the Wildcats, including the last three in Evanston. The Sears Centre is 30 miles west of Northwestern’s home, Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Bluder said that if the NCAA selection show was held Wednesday, she thinks the Hawkeyes would be among the field.
“We have a 37 RPI, play in the second-toughest conference in America, and have good, quality wins,” Bluder said. “I feel like we’re in.”
That makes results in the Big Ten Tournament so significant.
“I do know if we go to this tournament and we lose to Northwestern, our RPI will drop,” Bluder said. “Now our chances go down because of that loss.”
The Hawkeyes have played in the last five NCAA Tournaments, but they are looking for their first win in the Big Ten Tournament since reaching the finals in 2010. The league event has been held in Indianapolis for the past 11 years; the last time it was in a different city was 2001 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
That’s good news for the Hawkeyes. They defeated Indiana, Illinois, and Purdue by a combined 17 points that year to win the championship in Bluder’s first season as head coach.
“I told the team the last time we changed venue and went to Grand Rapids, we came home with the trophy,” Bluder said. “So why not do it again?”