Jan. 26, 2016
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There is a difference between losing games and losing confidence.
The University of Iowa women’s basketball team has been on the short end five times in its last six outings, but the Hawkeyes (13-7 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) refuse to surrender.
“My confidence is never going to dip just because we have had a rough patch. If you lose your confidence then what do you have?” UI junior Ally Disterhoft said. “You have to know that if you keep working hard things will turn around at some point. We have to keep working hard, committing to the small details, and hopefully things will work out in our favor.”
Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday to face Michigan (11-8, 3-5). The Hawkeyes — who have won 25 of their 27 games on Mediacom Court — were 12-2 when they played the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan 19 days ago. Iowa led by 17 points with 8:18 left in the third quarter before falling, 82-75.
While revenge is sweet, UI head coach Lisa Bluder and the Hawkeyes will take any win, regardless of the venue.
“To get any win, I don’t care where it happens,” Bluder said Tuesday at a news conference in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “I don’t care if it happened on Mars right now. We need to get a win and that’s important.”
Iowa opened the season with seven consecutive victories at home after going 18-0 during 2014-15. Since then the Hawkeyes have lost in Carver-Hawkeye Arena to Maryland (76-56 on Jan. 10) and Penn State (82-69 on Jan. 20).
“You have to start somewhere and you can’t say we’re going to win them all. That is putting way too much pressure on everybody. We have not thrown up the white flag. No way, no way.”
UI basketball coach
“I don’t feel our last two home games we created our emotion. We haven’t given the crowd a lot of opportunities to get behind us,” Bluder said. “I want to see us give them some inspiration so the crowd can get behind us.”
There were plenty signs of life for Iowa on Jan. 24 during a 90-73 loss at Purdue. The Hawkeyes reduced a 15-point first-quarter deficit and knotted the score, 43-43, early in the third quarter. Sophomore Christina Buttenham logged 27 minutes and scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field (3-of-3 from beyond the arc).
“It felt like I was seeing the floor in a different way than I have throughout the season,” Buttenham said. “When I started the season, my offensive game wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I knew I had defense and rebounding that I could build off of. That’s what I did, my confidence grew, and the offensive part came.”
Ten games remain before the Big Ten Tournament and Bluder said going 6-4 over that stretch is “very doable.” That would leave the Hawkeyes with a record of 19-11.
“You have to start somewhere and you can’t say we’re going to win them all,” Bluder said. “That is putting way too much pressure on everybody. We have not thrown up the white flag. No way, no way.”
Iowa and Michigan tip off Thursday at 7 p.m. (CT). It will be Claire Till Bobblehead Night, Facebook/Twitter Fan Appreciation Night (free admission for UI athletics Facebook/Twitter followers with coupon code), and Whiteout (all fans are encouraged to wear white to the game).
“It’s a new game and a new night and anyone can win on any given night,” Disterhoft said. “We’re at home so we should have a good crowd and hopefully we can play well in front of our crowd.”