Dec. 3, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Who’s it going to be against No. 22 Syracuse?
What member of the 25th-ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team will go off for a monster game Thursday in a battle of ranked programs in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena? No one knows for sure, it depends on the flow of the game.
The Hawkeyes (8-1 overall) have four players average double-figure points and two others that average 9.4 and 7.8 points per game.
Junior guard Samantha Logic has been the team’s leader four times, scoring 28 points against UC-Riverside, 26 at Colorado, 17 at Northern Iowa and 22 against Southern California. Junior center Bethany Doolittle scored 22 against Dayton and 17 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Junior guard Melissa Dixon was leading scorer against UNC-Wilmington (32), Boston College (17) and shared game-high honors with Doolittle against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Freshman Ally Disterhoft dropped 17 on Stony Brook.
“Because we don’t have huge numbers we need every one of them to contribute,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Tuesday at a news conference inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “It could be a different person every night. Sam could lead us one night, Beth another night, Melissa another night and I like that.”
“You go with the flow of the game and see what your team needs. If we don’t need scoring, then I don’t care to do that. You have to see what’s going on, how they’re playing defense, make the reads, that’s what it’s all about. I’m not going to force the issue if I don’t have to.”
UI junior guard
Leading the charge and setting the Hawkeye tempo is Logic who enters Thursday’s battle with team-high averages of 14.3 points and 7.0 assists.
“You go with the flow of the game and see what your team needs,” Logic said. “If we don’t need scoring, then I don’t care to do that. You have to see what’s going on, how they’re playing defense, make the reads, that’s what it’s all about. I’m not going to force the issue if I don’t have to.”
Logic practices what she preaches. She might be the team’s leading scorer, but in wins against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and UNC-Wilmington she attempted just one field goal. Dixon took over in those instances, pouring in 32 points with seven 3-point field goals against UNC-Wilmington.
“It’s tough for other people to defend,” Logic said. “Any given night anyone could have 20 or 30 in Melissa’s case. We have had Beth with 20, Melissa with 20, I have had 20, Kali (Peschel) was close. It’s difficult to defend or we’ll have a game where everyone has 10 or 12. That’s still 50 or 60 points right there. It’s hard to scout and hard to defend.”
Toss in a newcomer like Disterhoft and it has to drive opposing coaches crazy when they attempt to shut down the Hawkeyes.
“We strive for balance but I think that comes with the flow of our offense,” Disterhoft said. “We like to distribute the ball, rack up the assists, it’s inevitable when you have players out there who are looking to make unselfish plays.”
Through the first nine games, Iowa averages 6.67 more assists per game than its opponents.
The Hawkeye balance also shows up on the court in ways that aren’t always validated by statistics. An example came during Iowa’s 78-65 win against Southern California in the first round of the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 28. With Doolittle limited to 17 minutes because of foul trouble, sophomore Claire Till came to the rescue. She played 24 minutes, scoring seven points with three rebounds.
“Claire went in and played great minutes against USC when Beth got in foul trouble,” Bluder said. “She did a tremendous job for us. It really is different people stepping up at different times.”
Balance will be vital for the Hawkeyes against Syracuse (8-0).
“They are a very good defensive team and they throw so many presses at you,” Bluder said. “They are playing well and confident.”
But they will also be playing on the road on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We’re both coming off trips where we were traveling out of the country and having three games in three days,” Bluder said. “Having it at Carver, especially if we have a great crowd, will really help us.”
The teams will tip-off at 6 p.m. (CT).