Jan. 21, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Athletics can sometimes be confusing and contradictory. After experiencing lows and highs in a three-day span, the University of Iowa women’s basketball team can attest.
The Hawkeyes needed short memories after an uncharacteristically lackluster 88-72 setback at home against Michigan State on Jan. 17. Three days later, they raced to a 17-point first-half lead and defeated Ohio State on the road, 81-74. It was Iowa’s first win in Columbus in 16 years.
In times like these, the Hawkeyes are being counted on to have long memories. Memories of winning the rebounding battle, shooting 89.5 percent from the line and 47.1 percent from 3-point range. Memories of the focus it takes to win a big game, let alone a big game on the road.
“I’m hoping we keep going; we understand how good that felt in that game and we can reiterate that with our team,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Tuesday at a news conference in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “They understand they have to focus for every opponent, come to practice and get the most out of it.”
One obvious change occurred with the lineup between Thursday’s game and the on Sunday: freshman Ally Disterhoft made her first collegiate start and responded by scoring 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
“It’s funny the highs and lows of athletics, but last week was a great example of that. Going from the low of not feeling we played our best against Michigan State — but losing to a very good team — to going on the road to a place we had never won and beating Ohio State there. Our team was extremely focused in this Ohio State game; it was probably one of the best first halves we have played of the year.”
UI basketball coach
“I think we did a great job against Ohio State coming out strong and playing hard and intense from the beginning,” Disterhoft said. “That’s something we need to continue doing.”
Junior Samantha Logic said the Hawkeyes were ready for a quick return to the court after falling to Michigan State.
“We were upset with our performance, disappointed in the effort all around,” Logic said. “We knew we had to be focused. It is that focus and attention to detail; knowing our scouts, taking care of the ball.”
Classes resumed at the UI on Tuesday, so a bye week comes at a good time. The Hawkeyes can savor the win at Ohio State a few more moments, but also appreciate the focus that went into going from a home loss and bouncing back for a road win.
“It’s funny the highs and lows of athletics, but last week was a great example of that,” Bluder said. “Going from the low of not feeling we played our best against Michigan State — but losing to a very good team — to going on the road to a place we had never won and beating Ohio State there. Our team was extremely focused in this Ohio State game; it was probably one of the best first halves we have played of the year.”
Iowa (15-5 overall, 3-3 Big Ten) looks to keep it going when it hosts Indiana (15-3, 2-3) on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes are encouraging fans to “Go Red For Women,” but wear black and gold.
“Make no mistake, we are not wearing red,” Bluder said.
They will also not overlook the Hoosiers, especially after suffering an 86-84 loss in the league opener on Jan. 2 in Bloomington.
“You just have to say Indiana and it fires us up a little bit,” Logic said. “From losing to them before in a game we didn’t play anywhere near to our potential.”
“I just have to write Indiana on the board and I think I will have their full attention,” Bluder said.
Bluder expects to keep Disterhoft in the starting rotation, but said that nothing is permanent when it comes to lineups. The person Disterhoft replaced — sophomore Kali Peschel — played five minutes at Ohio State, but Bluder expects her time on the court to increase.
“I need Kali and I don’t want to lose Kali,” she said. “I want her to understand that maybe she didn’t play as much against Ohio State, but she will be counted on throughout the year and we need her to come off the bench and play well.”