Hawkeye hoops gears up for ISU

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Ting Xuan Tan

Iowa guard Makenzie Meyer advances during the basketball match at the Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. Iowa defeated Hampton 84-51. (The Daily Iowan/Ting Xuan Tan)

By James Kay

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Rivalry week starts off with a bang tonight with the Iowa women’s basketball team.

The Hawkeyes will spar with Iowa State in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Through the years, the series has gone back and forth between the state’s top two basketball schools. Overall, Iowa is 24-22 against the Cyclones, but Iowa State is going into the game having won the last meeting, 69-66, in Ames last year.

“Iowa State … I probably don’t need to say a lot more than that,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said with a big grin. “Everyone gets excited about this game; our fans get excited about it, our players get a little more amped for it. It’s just a great rivalry.“

For Iowa natives, this is more than just a game, it is an event that everyone in the state tunes into. The Hawkeyes don’t need anyone to tell them how much this series means to them.

“Obviously, growing up as an Iowa native I understand how important this game is for the rivalry and for the series,” senior captain Ally Disterhoft said. “Like I said before, we are just looking forward to going out there and hopefully putting together a real quality game against a real quality opponent.”

For freshman Makenzie Meyer, there is nothing quite like going out and being a part of the heated in-state rivalry.

“I wanted to stay close to home and stay in Iowa, and I’ve always been a Hawkeye fan,” Meyer said in a release. “I wanted this day to come. As an Iowa kid, this is something you dream about your whole life.”

While the home team has won 14 out of the last 15 meetings in the series, the Hawkeyes will face a talented Iowa State team that is hungry to prove it is the state’s best.

On Dec. 3, Iowa State (6-1) took No. 6 Mississippi State to overtime before eventually falling, 85-81.

“They have been playing really well all season,” Meyer said. “As you saw on Saturday, they were up 17 points against the No. 6 team in the country, so they are obviously a really good team. Right now they are shooting the 3-point ball really well, so we are going to have to stop that. Their point guard, Jadda Buckley, is a really good player, and Seanna Johnson is another great player they have. They have experience, but we know what we can do after playing UNI.”

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-12-43-48-amUnlike the Cyclones, however, the Hawkeyes have played a number of formidable opponents and have kept the games close. On Nov. 20, the Hawkeyes lost 66-64 to South Dakota State, which Bluder referred to as, “the toughest team [Iowa] would play all year.”

They also came from behind again No. 9 UCLA on Nov. 24 before the Bruins ran away with the game to win, 78-65.

The Hawkeyes’ most impressive performance came when they fought with No. 1 Notre Dame and were only down by 2 points deep into the third quarter.

If we have learned anything from this rivalry, it is that numbers and analytics cannot predict what will be another intense battle for the state.

The game will take place at Carver-Hawkeye at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Network Plus.

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