Iowa Set for 2016 Hawkeye Challenge

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The University of Iowa women’s basketball team (3-0) returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, hosting the 2016 Hawkeye Challenge this weekend. The Hawkeyes take on Massachusetts on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (CT) before facing either Montana or South Dakota State on Sunday at 2 p.m. 


  • Saturday’s contest will be streamed live on Hawkeye All-Access, while Sunday’s game will be available on BTN Plus. Links can be found on the Iowa women’s basketball schedule page on 
  • Live stats are available on the Iowa women’s basketball schedule page on 


  • Andy Petersen and Jamie Cavey Lang will call  Saturday’s game on Hawkeye All-Access, while Rob Brooks will join Lang for Sunday’s contest. Links to the broadcast are available on the women’s basketball schedule page at 
  • Brooks has been Iowa football’s sideline announcer since the 2004-05 season. He has called seven different Iowa sports on radio or television. 
  • Lang lettered at Iowa from 2002-05. She finished her Hawkeye career with 1,265 points and 506 rebounds, and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. 

Season tickets are on sale for the 2016-17 Iowa women’s basketball season. General public season tickets are $100. UI faculty/staff can purchase tickets for $80. Senior tickets are also $80, while youth season tickets (18 or younger) are $25. UI students are admitted free to women’s basketball games. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting the ticket office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or online at 


  • Iowa has gone undefeated in Hawkeye Challenge action since 2011, when the Hawkeyes fell to UNLV, 69-59. 
  • The Hawkeyes have won six consecutive Hawkeye Challenge contests, including wins over North Dakota (83-61) and UT Martin (62-56) last season. 
  • The Hawkeye Challenge began in 1985 and Iowa has included the event in all but two seasons (1996, 2012). 

Iowa is 51-7 all-time in the Hawkeye Challenge.


  • Massachusetts enters Friday’s contest with a 1-1 record. The Minutewomen fell to Buffalo in their season opener on Nov. 11, 61-47, before defeating North Dakota State, 70-58, it its home opener on Nov. 14. 
  • In two games, freshman Hailey Leidel is averaging a team-high 20 points. Leidel earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors after scoring 16 points and pulling down seven rebounds against Buffalo last week. 
  • Freshman guard Ryan Holder is averaging 13.5 points per game. Leidel and Holder are the top-scoring freshmen in the Atlantic 10 so far this year. 
  • The Minutewomen are under the direction of first-year head coach Tory Verdi. He spent the previous four years as the head coach at Eastern Michigan. 


  • South Dakota State enters the weekend with a 2-0 overall record. The Jackrabbits posted wins over Creighton, 63-56, and SIU Edwardsville, 82-49, last weekend. 
  • The Jackrabbits are receiving votes in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Polls. South Dakota State is receiving two votes in the AP Poll and 25 votes in the Coaches Poll. 
  • In two games this season, junior guard Macy Miller and senior guard Kerri Young are both averaging 15.5 points per game. Junior forward Ellie Thompson (12.0) and sophomore guard Madison Guebert (10.0) are also averaging double figures in points. 
  • The Jackrabbits are coached by Aaron Johnston, who is in his 17th season at the helm. He has led South Dakota State to seven Summit League Tournament titles, including 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. 


  • Montana enters the weekend with a 1-0 record after posting a 66-55 win over Great Falls in its season opener on Tuesday. 
  • Senior Alycia Sims led the team with 10 points before leaving in the third quarter due to injury. Redshirt freshman McKenzie Johnston also netted 10 points, while freshman Gabi Harrington added nine. 
  • The Lady Griz are under the direction of first-year head coach Shannon Schweyen. She spent the previous 24 seasons as an assistant coach on Montana’s staff. 


  • The Hawkeyes lead the league in defensive rebounds, averaging 36.7 boards per game. 
  • Iowa ranks third in the conference in both field goal percentage (.514) and field goal percentage defense (.302). 
  • The Hawkeyes also rank third in rebounding offense (49.3) and rebounding margin (+12.7), and are tied for third in assists (19.0).
  • Senior Ally Disterhoft is averaging 21.7 points per game, the third highest average in the Big Ten. 
  • Sophomore Megan Gustafson is tied for fourth in the league, averaging 9.7 rebounds per game. 


  • Center/forward Megan Gustafson was named Big Ten Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. It is the second weekly honor of Gustafson’s career
  • The Port Wing, Wisconsin, native posted back-to-back double-doubles to lead Iowa to wins overall Oral Roberts and Hampton last weekend. The sophomore tied career highs in points (25) and field goals made (10), and recorded 12 rebounds, an assist and a block in 26 minutes of action against Oral Roberts on Nov. 11. Two days later, Gustafson netted 14 points and pulled down 11 boards to lead the Hawkeyes past Hampton. She also went a combined 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
  • In two games this season, Gustafson is averaging 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. She has recorded a double-double in 11 of her last 15 games dating back to last season.
  • Gustafson earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors on Feb. 22, 2016. She is the first Hawkeye to win Big Ten Player of the Week since Samantha Logic won the award on March 2, 2015.  


  • Three Big Ten teams are ranked in USA Today Week Two Coaches Poll, including No. 5 Maryland, No. 8 Ohio State, and No. 21 Michigan State, and Indiana (59) and Michigan (34) are receiving votes. 
  • Three Big Ten teams are included in the week two Associated Press Top 25. They include No. 6 Maryland, No. 7 Ohio State, and No. 23 Indiana. Michigan State is receiving 72 votes in the poll. 

After leading the Hawkeyes in points in the first three games of the season, senior Ally Disterhoft now ranks seventh on Iowa’s all-time career scoring list. Disterhoft has 1,607 career points and is 452 points from tying Iowa’s all-time scoring record of 2,059 set by Cindy Haugejorde (1976-80). Disterhoft also ranks 12th all-time in 3-point field goals (116), 14th in career blocks (55), and 16th in rebounds (627). 


  • Sophomore Hannah Stewart netted eight points and grabbed four rebounds in her home state of North Dakota on Wednesday.  
  • Stewart netted a career-high 10 points in Iowa’s win over Hampton on Nov. 13. 
  • After scoring just five points in 12 contests last season, Stewart has 21 points in two games this year. 


  • Sophomore Megan Gustafson registered the 10th and 11th double-doubles of her career last weekend. 
  • Gustafson has registered a double-double in 11 of her last 16 games dating back to last season. 
  • The Port Wing, Wisconsin, native tied career highs in points (25), field goals made (10), and free throws made (5) in Iowa’s season opener against Oral Roberts on Nov. 11. She followed that up with 14 points and 11 boards against Hampton on Nov. 13. 
  • Following the 2015-16 campaign, Gustafson was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. She led league freshmen in blocks (58), was second rebounding (225), and fourth in scoring (352). She was one of just two freshmen in the conference to lead their team in rebounds. 

The Iowa Athletic Department upgraded Carver-Hawkeye Arena’s video boards, sound system, lighting, digital scorestable displays, and playing surface this past summer. 
    A new four-sided centerhung video system is the centerpiece of the installation. The two main centerhung displays measure approximately 14.5 feet high by 26 feet wide and the other two centerhung displays measure 9.5 feet high by 16.5 feet wide. The project also upgraded the auxiliary displays located near the ceiling at each side of the arena.

Senior Ally Disterhoft was named Preseason All-Big Ten by the coaches and media, the Big Ten Conference announced Oct. 24. The Iowa City, Iowa, native was a second team All-Big Ten selection in 2015 and 2016 and an honorable mention All-Big Ten honoree in 2014. She was also named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and Big Ten All-Tournament team in 2014. 


  • Iowa returns four of its five starters from last season in senior Ally Disterhoft, junior Chase Coley, and sophomores Tania Davis and Megan Gustafson. 
  • Senior Ally Disterhoft garnered second team All-Big Ten accolades by coaches and media for the second consecutive season and received Iowa’s Sportsmanship Award. The preseason All-Big Ten pick by coaches and media scored in double figures in every game last season and in 78 of her 84 consecutive starts. 
  • Tania Davis and Megan Gustafson were named to the 2016 Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
  • Davis was one of two Big Ten freshmen to lead her team in assists per game (3.4) and average at least one steal per game (1.2) last season. She has dished out 111 assists in 33 games played, the second-highest total recorded by a freshman at Iowa (Samantha Logic; 136). 
  • Gustafson was the only freshman and one of three players in the conference overall to lead her team in field goal percentage (.554), rebounds (225), and blocks (58) last season. 
  • Chase Coley averaged 11.1 points per game last season — the second highest mark on the team. The junior compiled 365 points, 194 rebounds, 53 assists, 37 blocks, and 24 steals in her sophomore campaign to receive Iowa’s Most Improved Award. 


  • Iowa’s freshman class was ranked No. 7 nationally by Blue Star — the highest ranked recruiting class for head coach Lisa Bluder and her staff. 
  • Iowa’s freshmen class consists of Bre Cera (2016 Journal Sentinel Player of the Year), Kathleen Doyle (Illinois Miss Basketball), Makenzie Meyer (Iowa Miss Basketball), Amanda Ollinger (2016 Gazette Female Athlete of the Year), and Alexis Sevellian (finalist for Michigan Miss Basketball). 
  • Meyer and Cera each got the starting nod in Iowa’s first two games of the season.  Meyer netted six points and three assists in her Hawkeye debut against Oral Roberts and added seven points and two assists against Hampton. Cera tallied five boards in the first contest of her career, and added four assists against Hampton. 


  • Senior Ally Disterhoft has netted double figures 81 of her 87 career starts. 
  • The Iowa City, Iowa, native has started 86 consecutive games and appeared in every game of her Hawkeye career (104). 
  • Disterhoft led the team with a career-high 29 points in Iowa’s season opener against Oral Roberts on Nov. 11. She also registered seven boards, two blocks, an assist and a steal in 27 minutes of play. 
  • Disterhoft’s 45 points in opening weekend action moved her past former Hawkeye Morgan Johnson into ninth on Iowa’s all-time career scoring list. She has netted 1,587 points her career. 
  • Disterhoft has registered 20 or more points in two of three games this season. 
  • Last season, Disterhoft became the program’s highest scoring junior, netting 565 points to break Michelle Edwards’ record of 564 points in 1986-87. 


  • Iowa made its ninth straight postseason appearance (8 NCAA, 1 WNIT) with an at-large bid to the WNIT in 2016.
  • Iowa was one of six Big Ten Conference teams (Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Rutgers) and one of three teams from Iowa (Drake, UNI) to be included in the WNIT field of 64.

Jinaya Houston has inked a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at the University of Iowa, UI head coach Lisa Bluder announced Nov. 9. 
     Houston, a 6-1 guard from Davenport, Iowa, attends Davenport North High School where she is coached by Rob O’Brien. Houston is a three-time all-state, all-metro, and all-conference honoree and a two-time all-district selection.
    As a junior, Houston guided her high school team to a 20-3 overall record and its first state tournament appearance in school history. The second-year team captain averaged 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game her junior campaign.
     The 2015-16 Mississippi Athletic Conference Player of the Year was named first team all-state by the Iowa Newspaper Association and second team all-state by the Iowa Coaches Association. She earned all-metro co-captain, all-district, Chicago Showcase Player of the Game, Des Moines Register Elite 8 accolades, and was a finalist for the Quad City Times Female Athlete of the Year.
     As a sophomore, Houston averaged 21.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, two steals, and one block per game to help her team to a 17-5 overall record in its first year as a 5A institution. The first-year team captain collected first team all-conference and all-metro accolades following the season. She was also a second team all-state honoree (Iowa Newspaper Association) and a second team Sports Spotlight selection in the state of Iowa.
     Houston was named third team all-state by the Iowa Newspaper Association, second team all-metro, and first team all-conference as a freshman. She averaged 17.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block per game her freshman campaign.  


  • Head coach Lisa Bluder begins her 17th season at the helm of the Iowa women’s basketball program this season. She owns a 326-188 (.634) overall record and a 160-106 Big Ten record at Iowa. In her 32 seasons as a head coach, Bluder is 682-330 (.674).
  • Bluder is one of 14 active Division I coaches to collect 675 or more career wins.
  • The head Hawkeye is second in career Big Ten wins (160) and in total wins among Big Ten coaches. She trails only C. Vivian Stringer who has compiled 189 Big Ten wins and 971 career wins.
  • Bluder ranks third all-time among all Big Ten coaches with 160 conference victories.


  • Ally Disterhoft was named Academic All-America of the Year for Division I women’s basketball and a CoSIDA first team Academic All-American last season. Disterhoft became the only junior to earn first team Academic All-America recognition and owned the top GPA (4.03) of all Academic All-Americans this year.
  • Christina Buttenham, Ally Disterhoft, Alexa Kastanek, and Hailey Schneden, earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition following the 2015-16 season. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten, student-athletes must be letterwinners and be in at least their second academic year at the institution. They must also carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  • In 2014-15, Iowa was the only program to have two Academic All-Americans in Disterhoft and Samantha Logic. There were 15 total honorees.

Check out the Iowa women’s basketball team’s website,, devoted to everything on and off the court surrounding the program. allows fans to go behind the scenes with the Hawkeye basketball program. The site is complete with exclusive videos, photo galleries, and content featuring the basketball program. 

The Hawkeyes travel to Riviera Maya, Mexico, for the 2016 Cancun Challenge next week. Iowa will take on UCLA on Nov. 24 before facing James Madison on Nov. 25.