By the numbers: Hawkeye women’s basketball

Heading into exam week, the Iowa women’s basketball team has several ways it can examine its own performance.


Katina Zentz

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder talks to Iowa players during a time-out at the women's basketball game against IUPUI at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, December 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars 72-58.

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

Exam week is in full-force for University of Iowa students, but the Hawkeye women’s basketball team has been facing tough tests all season.

The players have statistics and percentages to compare themselves with their peers in college basketball.

As Iowa nears Big Ten play, it gains a good perspective of what it does well and what it needs to do better. So let’s see where the Hawkeyes fall on the bell curve of the college-basketball world.

52.2 field-goal percentage

We are just nine games into the season, but the Hawkeyes are picking up right where they left off in field-goal shooting. Last season, the Hawkeyes ranked right up at the top in field-goal percentage in the Big Ten

Iowa is hitting 52.2 percent from the field this year, placing it among the most elite teams in the country when it comes to shooting — first in the conference and third nationally.

Center Megan Gustafson, who led the nation in field-goal percentage a year ago, has spearheaded the effort. This season, she has been able to shoot 75.7 percent from the field, which puts her second behind Naz Hillmon of Michigan.

85.9 points per game

Despite facing fierce defense from the likes of Florida State and Notre Dame, Iowa has still been able to score the ball. The team has put up nearly 86 points per game this season, good for 12th in the nation and second in the Big Ten.

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Its ability to score is not only centered on field-goal percentage, either — the Hawkeyes have been extremely effective from the free-throw line, leading the conference at just over 82 percent.

Of course, this has been largely because of the efforts from Gustafson. She has put up 23.4 points per game this season, with numerous 30-point outings. She leads the conference in this category and is seventh in the nation.

Other players have put up big numbers as well. Forward Hannah Stewart is 14th in the conference at 13.2 points per game.

With guard Kathleen Doyle finally at full-strength after an injury, fans should not be surprised to see the team’s averages go up.

Minus-2.6 turnover margin

It’s no secret that Iowa has had turnover problems this season.

Following the disappointing loss to Notre Dame just a few weeks ago, ball security was one of the most obvious flaws of the Hawkeye offense.

On average, the team has turned the ball over 2.6 more times than opponents this season, putting them at the bottom of the conference.

It was a problem last season, as well. The Hawkeyes averaged 4.1 more turnovers than opponents last season.

It is important to note the Hawkeyes are second in the conference this year in assist-to-turnover ratio. They have no trouble sharing the rock, though head coach Lisa Bluder has emphasized that sharing the ball is much more effective when done cleanly.

In the end, the only statistic that matters is winning percentage. For the Hawkeyes to continue to raise that particular number, they need to focus on both the strong and weak parts of their game.

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