Hawkeyes on a run


By Mario Williams

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Many doubted the Iowa women’s basketball team potential prior to the 2015-16 campaign. However, with a 6-1 record thus far, the Hawkeyes have continued to play ‘Iowa’ basketball.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder and her team met with members of the media Monday morning after its first long road trip.

Lone Star Showcase

The Hawks traveled to Austin, Texas, last week to compete against three worthy opponents — Wright State, No. 21 George Washington, and Houston. They finished in second place with a 2-1 record.

After competing in Austin for three days in a row, the Hawks learned health and themselves as a team.

The Hawks’ game against George Washington sent them into double overtime. Bluder was dismissive about a controversial call that sent the matchup into extra time.

Iowa ran a sideline play with 2.5 seconds left on the clock. Junior Alexa Kastanek was fouled while from shooting behind the arc, but didn’t get a chance to shoot three free throws.

“This is my 32nd year of college coaching, and I’ve never had a game end like that,” Bluder said. “It was a misapplied rule by officials that basically took the victory away from us. Unfortunately, you can’t go back and get the ‘W.’ ”

There wasn’t much time to prepare with a tense playing schedule, but Bluder was impressed with the way the team ended things in Austin. After its tough loss in double overtime, the team turned around to beat Houston.

The Hawkeyes believes playing a tournament with little turnaround will prepare them for much more to come through the season, especially when the Big Ten arrives.

“It was tough but it was really good for our team, especially as young as we are,” senior Kali Peschel said. “It was good for everyone to get that experience right off the bat.”

Offense can do more work

Iowa is young, and there’s no denying that. So far, the team has had some spark, but the team still sees room for improvement.

The Hawkeyes are shooting .45 percent from the field, and three athletes routinely are in double figures, with a fourth in close range.

Although the Hawkeyes have no problem scoring, they know they can be better collectively as a team.

“We need to take care of the ball better,” Bluder said. “That’s an area that we’d like to improve on.”

Bluder noted that notching down on turnovers in the next few games would be ideal, along with tuning up assists.

Iowa has made a total of 114 turnovers this season, averaging 16.3 per game. The team averages 16.1 assists per game.

Bench stepping up

Although three of the Hawks’ starters find themselves in double digits, athletes coming off the bench have been key to Iowa’s success.

Freshman Megan Gustafson is right behind that trio averaging 9.3 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game.

“It’s really nice to know I can help out when I can and know that all the coaches have faith in me,” Gustafson said.

In the squad’s win against Houston, junior Carly Mohns set a new career-high in the first half with 7 points. She finished the contest with 11 points.

Down the road, athletes like these two will need to step up behind the starters, and that’s something Bluder expects.

“Everyone’s going to be OK,” Bluder said.

Follow @marioxwilliams on Twitter for Iowa women’s basketball news, updates, and analysis.

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