Women's Hoops Shifts Focus to Illinois, Purdue

Feb. 13, 2014

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team has had a week to remember, but with two more games in the next four days, it is time to shift its focus.

On Feb. 6, the Hawkeyes won at No. 9 Penn State, 73-70, marking Iowa’s first victory over a top-10 foe since defeating No. 10 Michigan State, 66-64, on Jan. 27, 2011.

The victory was also the Hawkeyes’ first over a top-10 team away from Iowa City since downing No. 7 Purdue, 75-70, in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament title game (March 4, 2001), and Iowa’s first in a true road game since winning at No. 9 Southern California, 50-49, on Dec. 30, 1993.

Iowa followed its road victory with a milestone home win on Feb. 10 over Northwestern (90-84). With the victory, UI head coach Lisa Bluder surpassed C. Vivian Stringer as the all-time winningest coach in program history (270 wins).

“We’ve got this week off to a good start, and that is important,” said Bluder.

The postgame locker room has been a fun place this season for the Hawkeyes, especially over the last week. The Hawkeyes hope to keep their momentum going heading into their final five regular season contests.

The home stretch starts tonight, as Iowa (19-6, 6-4) hosts Illinois (9-15, 2-9) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tip is set for 8 p.m. (CT).

“This is an important week,” said Bluder. “We have five regular season games left, with three coming this week. We hoped the Penn State win would get us on a little roll, now we have kept it up with the win over Northwestern.

“We take it one game at a time, and are focused on Illinois. We are glad we play them at home, and it is important because we play them again on the road in a few weeks. We want to set the tone.”

Following the Hawkeyes’ second-to-last regular season home contest against the Fighting Illini, Iowa — tied for the league lead in victories over ranked opponents with three — travels to No. 23 Purdue this weekend. Iowa is fourth in the Big Ten with a 7-4 mark, while Purdue sits a half-game back in fifth at 7-5.

The Hawkeyes and Boilermakers will square off at 1 p.m. on Sunday in West Lafayette.

“Sunday marks our only meeting this season against Purdue,” said Bluder. “They are in the top-25, and we are neck-and-neck with them in the Big Ten standings. That will also be an important game, but first our focus is on Illinois.”

Tonight’s game against Illinois is the annual ‘Pink Game’, and all fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game in support of breast cancer awareness. Tickets are $2 off for fans that wear pink to the game.

Free pink pom poms will be given to the first 1,000 fans, and fans can register to win a $100 gift card for a Valentine’s Day dinner at Joseph’s Steakhouse.

Tonight’s contest will be televised nationally on BTN (BTN2GO) with Mike Couzens and Mary Murphy calling the action.