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

Notebook: Iowa looks forward to hosting Nittany Lions

Sophomore Whitney Jennings goes up for a shot against Tennessee-Martin Sunday Nov. 15th, 2015. The Hawkeyes overcame an early deficit to win the game, 62-56. (The Daily Iowan/Kyle Close)

The Hawkeye women’s basketball team relish that it’ll return home for another conference matchup on Wednesday.

The Hawkeyes will host Penn State, (6-11, 1-5 Big Ten), but despite that record, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder doesn’t want her team to overlook the Lions.

“I told the team today don’t be deceived by their record,” Bluder said. “This is a team that is very good, and they’re shooting the ball better than they did last year.”

In addition to shooting, Penn State can be a very good rebounding team, and athletes such as Chase Coley and Megan Gustafson will be key in crashing the boards. Penn State averages 37.9 rebounds per game.

In its most recent contests, Iowa has had issues keeping leads. The Hawkeyes opened up a 13-point lead at halftime over Michigan State on Jan. 16 but eventually lost by 7.

On Jan. 17, Penn State put up 39 points in the fourth quarter against Michigan, and while the Nittany Lions did not win, Iowa must be prepared to fight off a late run.

Turnovers and leads

The Hawkeyes sit at 3-3 in the Big Ten, the three losses due to excessive turnovers, especially late in games.

Iowa averages 16.5 turnovers per game — second-to-last in the Big Ten — and has the worst turnover margin in the conference.

Bluder believes her players are thinking too hard about turning the ball over.

“Right now, I feel like we’re almost scared of turning the ball over and scared of making the pass,” she said. “If you’re scared of passing the ball, you’re probably thinking you’re going to turn the ball over, and that’s what’s going to happen.”

Bluder also noted this is fixable, and it is something the team will continue to work on in practice.

The head coach said starting the second half sloppily causes much of the Hawks’ leads to fade.

“It’s kind of like we start off with bad karma and bad feelings in the second half,” Bluder said. “You’re going to have turnovers. But, if you have a turnover, you have to dig your heels in on defense, and I don’t think we’re doing that.”

Davis shines

Freshman Tania Davis had quite the game in East Lansing when the team fell to Michigan State, 80-73.

Davis got the chance to return to her home state for the first time and scored a career high 16 points. She was 3-of-3 from the field (all 3s) at the half and led Iowa in assists with 2, finishing with 5 for the game.

“I just want to keep my mentality and stay aggressive offensively and defensively,” Davis said. “I think that’s where I have most of my success.”

Sophomore Whitney Jennings said that she looks forward to seeing more of the spark the freshman has in the upcoming conference contests.

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