The 25th-ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team closes out the nonconference season against Drake on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CT) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are $12 for adults and free for youth (18 & younger) and UI students.
- The contest will be streamed live on BTN Plus. Links are available on the Iowa women’s basketball schedule page on hawkeyesports.com.
- Live stats are also available on the women’s basketball schedule page on hawkeyesports.com.
- Rob Brooks and Jamie Cavey Lang will call the action on the Hawkeye Radio Network. A link to the broadcast is available on the women’s basketball schedule page on hawkeyesports.com.
- Brooks is in his second year as the play-by-play announcer for the Iowa women’s basketball team. He has been Iowa football’s sideline announcer since 2004. He has called seven different Iowa sports on radio or television.
- Lang enters her second year as Iowa’s color commentator. She lettered at Iowa from 2002-05. Lang finished her Hawkeye career with 1,265 points and 506 rebounds. She was a two-time All-Big Ten selection.
- Thursday is ugly sweater day. All fans are encouraged to wear an ugly holiday sweater.
- A “Family Four Pack” is available for purchase through the Iowa ticket office. It includes four tickets, four hot dogs, and four drinks for $35.
- Thursday is also Kids’ Day and Junior Hawk Club Day. All kids receive free admission, and Junior Hawk Club members are invited to a pre-game shoot around and poster making from 6-6:45 p.m. (CT). A Junior Hawk Club Membership Card is required to attend.
- Two of the collectable Iowa women’s basketball trading cards will be available at all entrances on the promotion tables while supplies last.
IN THE POLLS
- Iowa is ranked No. 25 in both major polls.
- The Hawkeyes entered both major polls on Dec. 11 (Ap) and Dec. 12 (USA Today) at No. 25. It marked Iowa’s first time in the AP Poll since Dec. 7, 2015 (No. 23) and its first time in the Coaches Poll since Jan. 5, 2016 (No. 23). Iowa is ranked in the AP Poll for the first time since Dec. 7, 2015 (No. 23).
- Four other Big Ten teams are ranked or receiving votes in polls (AP/Coaches). They include: No. 12/13 Ohio State, No. 15/15 Maryland, No. 23/21 Michigan, and RV/NR Rutgers.
- Iowa is off to an 11-1 start for the first time since 2010-11 (12-1).
- Iowa finished the 2010-11 season with a 22-9 overall record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
- Iowa has defeated five teams — Quinnipiac, Western Kentucky, Elon, Iowa State, UNI — that made the NCAA Tournament last season.
- Seven of Iowa’s nonconference opponents made the 2017 NCAA Tournament, including Quinnipiac, Western Kentucky, Elon, Florida State, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, and Drake.
- As of Dec. 18, Iowa’s RPI is 21 — the third highest in the Big Ten (No. 7 Ohio State, No. 8 Rutgers).
- Drake enters Thursday’s contest with a 5-6 overall record. The Bulldogs have wins over Milwaukee, Liberty, Mississippi Valley State, Iowa State, and Iowa Wesleyan.
- Two of Drake’s losses have come in overtime contests. Creighton outlasted the Bulldogs, 108-100 (4OT) on Dec. 3, while Nebraska defeated Drake, 89-84, in double overtime on Dec. 9.
- Drake ranks second nationally in assists (247) and assists per game (22.5).
- The Bulldogs are also ranked 14th in 3-point field goals attempted (302) and 3-point field goals made (101), 17th in points per game (84.5), 22nd in 3-point field goals per game (9.2), and 25th in field goal percentage (46.4).
- Redshirt sophomore forward Sara Rhine leads the Bulldogs, averaging 17.8 points per game. Sophomore guard Becca Hittner (14.3) and junior guard Sammie Bachrodt (12.5) also average double figures.
- Redshirt junior center Becca Jones leads the team in rebounding, averaging 6.2 per contest.
- Drake finished the 2016-17 season with a 28-5 overall record. The Bulldogs fell to Kansas State, 67-54, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
- Drake leads the all-time series, 25-24.
- In the Lisa Bluder era, which began in 2001-02, the Hawkeyes have a 14-2 record against the Bulldogs.
- Iowa has won 14 of the last 15 meetings between the two teams.
- Drake won last year’s contest, 81-76, in Des Moines, Iowa.
CROSS COURT CONNECTIONS
- UI head coach Lisa Blulder spent 10 seasons as Drake’s head coach before coming to Iowa. She compiled a record of 187-106 (.659).
- Associate head coach Jan Jensen played collegiately at Drake, graduating in 1991 with a public relations degree. As a senior, she led the nation in scoring with 29.6 points per game and was a Gateway Conference Most Valuable Player. Jensen was also Bluder’s first assistant and recruiting coordinator at Drake.
- Assistant coach Jenni Fitzgerald also played collegiately at Drake, graduating in 1990 with a business administration/management degree. She was the starting point guard for the Bulldogs, and was named team captain and All-Gateway first team as a senior. Fitzgerald also coached at Drake with Bluder, working with the guards, directing summer camps, and handling administrative duties for the program.
- Drake head coach Jennie (Lillis) Baranczyk was a standout player for Bluder at Iowa from 2000-04. She was a three-time captain, three-time All-Big Ten selection, and an All-American. She is one of two Hawkeyes to score 1,700 points and pull down 800 rebounds in her career.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP ON THE LINE
- The Hawkeyes are 2-0 this season against in-state rivals.
- Iowa defeated UNI, 71-47, in Cedar Falls on Dec. 17.
- The Hawkeyes downed Iowa State, 61-55, in Ames on Dec. 6.
- A win on Thursday would mark the first state sweep for the Hawkeyes since 2014-15.
DEFENSE LAST 4 GAMES
- The Hawkeyes have held their opponents to less than 60 points in each of the last four games.
- In its last four games, Iowa’s opponents averaged just 51.5 points per game.
- Iowa’s scoring defense of 64.3 points per game ranks 10th in the Big Ten Conference.
CLIMBING THE CAREER CHARTS
- Junior Megan Gustafson’s 1,242 career points ranks 22nd all-time. She needs 23 points to tie former Hawkeye and current Iowa radio analyst Jamie Cavey (01-05; 1,265) for 21st all-time.
- Gustafson has 716 rebounds in her career. She currently ranks 14th all-time. She is 10 rebounds shy of tying Franthea Price (726, 86-90) for 13th all-time.
HAWKEYES END DROUGHT AT HILTON
- The Hawkeyes defeated Iowa State, 61-55, in Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 6, marking the team’s first win in Ames since 1989 (11 meetings).
- Sophomore Makenzie Meyer led the Hawkeyes with 18 points. The Mason City, Iowa, native went 4-for-6 from 3-point range.
- After being held to just two points in the first half, junior Megan Gustafson netted 14 points and pulled down seven boards in the second half to register her ninth double-double of the season (16 points, 14 rebounds). It marked the 36th double-double of her career.
- Junior Hannah Stewart registered a career-high 12 rebounds.
TOTAL TEAM EFFORT
- Three Hawkeyes average double figures in scoring this season, while seven are averaging seven or more.
- Four Hawkeyes average 4.8 or more rebounds per game, including Megan Gustafson (12.3), Hannah Stewart (5.9), Chase Coley (5.3) and Kathleen Doyle (4.8).
- Nine Hawkeyes have registered 11 or more assists on the season.
- Juniors Megan Gustafson and Hannah Stewart and senior Chase Coley are all ranked among the top-15 in the conference in field goal percentage.
- Gustafson leads the conference, shooting 70.3 from the field this season, while Coley ranks 12th (54.9) and Stewart is 15th (51.9)
GUSTAFSON EARNS 6TH STRAIGHT CONFERENCE HONOR
- Junior Megan Gustafson was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. She has earned conference recognition in each of the first six weeks of the season. The weekly award is the 12th of her career.
- Gustafson registered 26 points, 10 rebounds (six offensive) and shot 73.3 percent (11-for-15) from the field to lead the Hawkeyes past in-state rival Northern Iowa on Dec. 17. It marked her 11th double-double of the season and the 38th of her career.
- The Port Wing, Wisconsin, native has now earned six straight conference honors. She was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4, and was named to the Player of the Week Honor Roll on Nov. 20, Nov. 27, and Dec. 11.
STEWART MAKES AN IMPACT
- Junior Hannah Stewart is averaging 8.0 points and 5.9 rebounds off the bench for the Hawkeyes this season.
- The Minot, North Dakota, native netted a career-high 17 points (7-for-9) against Samford on Dec. 3.
- Stewart recorded a career-best 12 rebounds to help the Hawkeyes to their first win in Hilton since 1989.
- Stewart also leads the team in steals, averaging 1.6 per contest.
- Junior Megan Gustafson has 38 double-doubles in her Hawkeye career, including double-doubles in 16 of her last 20 games.
- Gustafson leads the nation with 10 double-doubles this season.
SHARING IS CARING
- Iowa leads the nation in assists (285) and assists per game (23.8), and ranks sixth in assist/turnover ratio (1.60).
- The Hawkeyes have registered 23 assists or more in nine of their 12 contests this season.
- Nine Hawkeyes have registered 12 or more assists on the season.
- Iowa leads the nation in three categories, including assists (285), assists per game (23.8), and fewest fouls per game (11.7).
- The Hawkeyes are ranked in the top-10 in seven categories. They include assists, assists per game, personal fouls per game, defensive rebounds per game (3rd; 33), field goal percentage (5th; 51.6), assist/turnover ratio (6th; 1.60), and win/loss percentage (9th; 91.7).
- Junior Megan Gustafson is ranked in the top-15 nationally in nine different categories. She leads the nation in double-doubles (11), ranks third in field goals made (109) and field goal percentage (70.3), fourth in rebounds (148), sixth in rebounds per game (12.3) and total points (262), 11th in defensive rebounds per game (8) and points per game (21.8), and 15th in offensive rebounds per game (4).
GUSTAFSON NAMED TO NAISMITH TROPHY WATCH LIST
- Junior Megan Gustafson was named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Nov. 29. The award honors the nation’s top player.
- The list currently features 50 student-athletes. It will be trimmed to 30 on Feb. 12, 2018.
- Nine different conferences are represented on the list. Gustafson is one of eight Big Ten student-athletes included.
- Gustafson was named to the Katrina McClain Award Watch List on Nov. 9. She is one-of-20 student-athletes named to the list. The award honors the nation’s top power forward.
- After scoring in double figures once last season, senior Chase Coley has scored 10 or more points in four contests this season.
- Coley netted 20 points in Iowa’s win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 15 — her most points since scoring 20 against Michigan on March 3, 2016.
- The Minneapolis native has scored eight or more points eight times this season, and has registered four or more rebounds on eight occasions.
- Coley’s field goal percentage of 54.9 currently ranks 12th in the Big Ten Conference.
SEVILLIAN STEPS IN
- Redshirt freshman Alexis Sevillian ranks second on the team, averaging 11.3 points per game.
- Sevillian has scored in double figures in eight of Iowa’s 12 contests.
- The Goodrich, Michigan, native has netted 3-or-more 3-pointers seven times.
- Sevillian led the team in scoring with a career-best 21 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range against Elon on Nov. 25 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- Head coach Lisa Bluder collected her 700th victory on Nov. 10 against Quinnipiac.
- Bluder is one-of-10 active Division I head coaches with 700 or more victories and one-of-29 women’s coaches to ever accomplish the feat. Bluder is one of 80 coaches (men or women) to win 700 or more contests.
- Bluder is in her 34th season as a head coach and her 18th at the helm of the Hawkeyes.
- In her 18 seasons in Iowa City, Bluder — Iowa’s all-time winningest coach — has accumulated 353 wins.
- Bluder has collected 10 20-win seasons as a Hawkeye.
Check out the Iowa women’s basketball team’s website, iowawbb.com, devoted to everything on and off the court surrounding the program. Iowawbb.com 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.
Iowa opens its Big Ten slate at Wisconsin, on Thursday, Dec. 28. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. (CT) in Madison, Wisconsin.