The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hoops set for Cyclones

Iowa guard Tania Davis takes a shot against Robert Morris forward Jocelynne Jones, the Hawkeyes defeated the Colonials 69-50 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City,Iowa on Dec. 6,2015(The Daily Iowan/Anthony Vazquez)

There’s one game every year that means a little something more to the Hawkeyes.

Today, the Iowa women’s basketball team will travel to Ames to compete against Iowa State and renew the annual rivalry.

It’s a game fans from around the state have circled on their calendar at the beginning of the season.

On the Hawkeyes side, all eyes have been on junior Ally Disterhoft, who leads the Hawks, averaging 16.1 points per game and putting up double-digit scoring in each of Iowa’s games this season.

“Ally’s a key for us,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Obviously a veteran on our team, she’s the leading scorer on our team, and she’s an Iowan. She’ll be very important for us in this game.”

Disterhoft will likely draw the defensive assignment for Iowa State’s Seanna Johnson, the Cyclones best scorer, averaging 17.4 points per game.

For the Iowa guard, who will have to be at her best against Johnson, this game means more than most.

Being an Iowa City native and one of three Iowans on the roster, she understands the importance of the rivalry.

“We’re going to stress to our team just how big of a game this is,” Disterhoft said. “Growing up here, you recognize that, but our team is full of a bunch of competitors, so they know at the end of the day, we’re going to have to get after it.”

However, competing in Hilton Coliseum won’t be easy for the young Hawks: It’s very loud. Cyclone fans speak volumes, unapologetically, about their support for the Cyclones.

In fact, in this series, the winner of each Cy-Hawk event has won on its home turf. Iowa would to turn that around.

“Going into Iowa State, it’s really helpful knowing that we have been doing well on the road and knowing that we can put together something that will give us a ‘W,’ ” junior Alexa Kastanek said. “Going into Hilton and showing everyone we can take down a big team in a big environment is going to be huge for us.”

Iowa is undefeated at home, but credits much of its success coming on the road. Its first loss came at the hands of George Washington in Austin, Texas, in a double-overtime matchup.

“It’s not anything statistically, it’s a feeling,” Bluder said. “I feel like we’ve been a little more relaxed on the road, maybe a little more focused having that time.”

This time around heading into a matchup, the Hawks have way more time to practice and flourish. The team went through three practices, a number they haven’t had before a game since the beginning of the regular season.

“That’s going to be really beneficial for us,” Bluder said. “Our players really need that.”

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