Feb. 3, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Times like these for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team might require a little amnesia, but in this case, it can be a very small dose.
The No. 16 Hawkeyes (17-4 overall, 8-2 Big Ten) are 3-0 following their three losses this season. They dropped a 93-88 decision — albeit a well-played one — at No. 5 Maryland on Sunday.
“It’s important to have a little amnesia after a loss,” UI senior center Bethany Doolittle said. “For our few losses this season, we have bounced back out of them and had a good game. That will be good for us, especially after this loss. We played well (at Maryland) and it could have gone either way.”
Earlier this season, Iowa lost to Arkansas, then defeated Gonzaga the next time on the court. After a setback at Louisville, the Hawkeyes won their next five games. Then they lost at Illinois and won six in a row.
“We talked a lot about bouncing back after a loss and how you learn from a loss,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Tuesday at a news conference inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
For Iowa to continue its streak of success after defeat, it must do so against Ohio State, one of the hottest teams in the league. The Buckeyes are 15-7, 7-3, and they have won four games in a row.
“This game kind of separates you a little more from one (team). We play (Ohio State) twice, so we really need to get the home court victory.”
UI basketball coach
It isn’t often when an opponent comes to Iowa City averaging more points than the Hawkeyes (81.0 to 79.7) and features an outside threat equal to UI senior Melissa Dixon. Dixon has made 83 3-point field goals in 21 games (3.85 per game) and Ohio State freshman Kelsey Mitchell has converted 84 in 22 games (3.82). Mitchell averages 26 points a game and junior guard Ameryst Alston averages 20.6.
“When you have two guards like Kelsey Mitchell and Alston coming in, you can’t stop them, you have to try to contain them,” said UI freshman guard Whitney Jennings. “That will be a total team effort. Any time you can go up against some of the best guards in the country you have to come in with a mindset that you can do it and rely on your teammates to help you.”
Iowa is in sole possession of second place in the Big Ten Standings, with Nebraska, Rutgers, and Ohio State one game behind. The Hawkeyes defeated Nebraska, 78-72, on Jan. 26, and they defeated Rutgers, 79-72, on Jan. 4.
“This game kind of separates you a little more from one (team),” Bluder said. “We play (Ohio State) twice, so we really need to get the home court victory.”
The Hawkeyes enter Thursday’s game with a ranking of No. 5 in RPI and No. 8 in strength of schedule. They have won 12 in a row at home. While Mitchell is averaging 28 points per game during the winning streak against Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan State, Iowa sophomore Ally Disterhoft also turned in an impressive week. Disterhoft averaged 21.3 points and eight rebounds per game against Nebraska, Northwestern, and Maryland.
“I don’t know what more a person needs to do to be honored by the Big Ten and I know Ally doesn’t care about that stuff,” Bluder said. “But we’re the second team in the Big Ten and have never had anyone as Big Ten Player of the Week. Part of that is that we’re a very balanced team, we’re not a star team, and part of that is why our players like to play on the Iowa Hawkeye basketball team.”
The Iowa-Ohio State game will tip off at 7 p.m. (CT)