IOWA CITY — When it comes to shot selection, good isn’t good enough for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“Like Coach (Lisa) Bluder tells us, we don’t want good shots,” said freshman Ally Disterhoft. “We want great shots.”
The 25th-ranked Hawkeyes (8-1) have been a ball-sharing, high-scoring outfit in the first three weeks of the season. Iowa ranks 14th in the country in assists (19.1 per game) and 31st nationally in offensive average (81.4 points per contest).
All of that will be put to the test Thursday, when Iowa hosts No. 22 Syracuse (8-0) as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tipoff is 6 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Bluder said during her press conference Tuesday. “They throw so many presses at you — full-court, three-quarter, half-court. The double-teams will be coming at us.”
Syracuse is Mallowing 53.8 points per game and has won its last seven games by double-digits. That includes a 78-63 romp over No. 23 Texas A&M on Saturday.
“We’ll be ready for them,” said Samantha Logic, who leads the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and is 11th in the nation in assists (7.0 per game). “We know what they’re going to do. We have to execute.”
Iowa has won four in a row, including three straight at the Cancun Challenge last weekend. The Hawkeyes handled USC, Boston College and UNC-Wilmington.
They’ve done it with a potent, balanced attack. Melissa Dixon has moved past her early-season shooting woes and is averaging 13.9 points per game. Bethany Doolittle (12.9 ppg) and Disterhoft (11.9) give Iowa four double-digit scorers.
Theairra Taylor and Kali Peschel are adding 9.4 and 7.8, respectively.
“It’s tough for other people to defend us,” Logic said. “On any night, anybody can go off for 20 points — and in Melissa’s case, 30 — or we can have a night in which five or six of us score 10 or 12.”
It’s a refreshing role for Disterhoft, who carried the load offensively last year for Iowa City West, earning Miss Iowa Basketball 2013 honors after leading the state in scoring.
“I feel like some pressure’s off,” she said. “Anybody can step up and hit the big shot.”
Brittney Sykes leads the Orange at 19.1 points per game.