Feb. 10, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Paraphrasing an ancient saying, when it comes to the No. 13 University of Iowa women’s basketball team this week, there will be no rest for the winning.
The Hawkeyes (19-4 overall, 10-2 Big Ten), with 13 victories in their last 15 games, enter a brutal — and potentially exhausting — three game stretch that will see them play in three cities in five days. Two of the contests begin at 8 p.m. (CT) and the lone home game of the run features a rare 5 p.m. tip.
“It is kind of a marathon week for us,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Tuesday at a news conference inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “It is kind of unusual with the next three games and how they play out. There is a lot going on and we have to be careful with our players’ legs in practice (Tuesday and Wednesday) with knowing what is coming up.”
Next for Iowa is round two against No. 20 Nebraska (17-6, 7-5) on Thursday at 8 p.m. in Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. In the first meeting, the Hawkeyes ended an eight-game losing streak to the Cornhuskers with a 78-72 overtime decision. Iowa returns home Sunday for its only meeting of the regular season against Indiana (13-10, 3-9) at 5 p.m. Two days later the Hawkeyes and Minnesota meet for the first time this season at 8 p.m. in Minneapolis.
“It’s a little different than usual and a little later for some of the games,” UI senior center Bethany Doolittle said. “Away trips are always harder on us. We’re going to take it one game at a time and try to get as much rest as possible and roll with it.”
“It is kind of a marathon week for us. It is kind of unusual with the next three games and how they play out. There is a lot going on and we have to be careful with our players’ legs in practice (Tuesday and Wednesday) with knowing what is coming up.”
UI basketball coach
Foul trouble limited Doolittle in the first meeting against the Cornhuskers. She played four minutes in the first half (with two fouls and no points) and 14 in the second (two more fouls and six points). In overtime, Doolittle was 2-of-4 from the field, 2-of-2 form the line with six points and two rebounds.
“We know it can be done, we can beat (Nebraska),” Doolittle said. “I tried to come out in overtime as hard as possible without fouling. I played with four fouls for a long time and that isn’t a goal of mine to go into this next game with the same kind of foul trouble. I will go out there with intensity but keep my hands off.”
Nebraska played its last two games — road losses to Rutgers and Maryland — without leading scorer Rachel Theriot (16.5 points per game). She scored 15 points with five assists in 45 minutes against Iowa on Jan. 26 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes expect Theriot to be on the court Thursday.
“We would love to have the sweep. We know they’re a good team,” Bluder said. “We’re fully expecting to have (Theriot) back on the floor for our game. They are a great team with difficult matchups.”
Maryland (21-2, 12-0) has a two-game lead over Iowa in the race for the regular-season Big Ten championship. With six to play, Rutgers, Ohio State, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Nebraska are all within three games of the second-place Hawkeyes.
Indiana has struggled of late, winning once (72-55 at home against Purdue) in its last seven outings.
It will be the final trip to the home state for Doolittle, a native of Oakdale, Minnesota. Another senior — guard Samantha Logic — is coming off a final game in her home state of Wisconsin by pouring in 30 points with seven rebounds and four assists in an 87-75 win over the Badgers on Feb. 8.
“It’s a special game for me, especially being in front of my home town for the last time in my career,” Doolittle said. “My mom is trying to get a lot of family members and friends out there to come support us. We always travel pretty well to Minnesota. There will be good Hawkeye energy at the arena.”