IOWA CITY -- The good feelings around the Iowa Hawkeyes these days, they're the result of intangibles.
"You can't find it on a stat sheet," Coach Lisa Bluder said Thursday after the 25th-ranked Hawkeyes (9-1) rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat No. 22 Syracuse, 97-91, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. "You see it through effort, and attention to detail, and focus and camaraderie.
"I genuinely love being around this team, and they love being around each other."
It's safe to say the Hawkeyes have surpassed expectations through the first 10 games. They lost four-year starters Jaime Printy and Morgan Johnson to graduation, and have more than simply weathered that blow.
Iowa is averaging 83 points per game, with six players averaging 8 points or more.
"No one cares who's scoring," said Melissa Dixon, who scored all of her game-high 27 points in the second half against Syracuse. "We just want to win."
The Hawkeyes scored 33 baskets Thursday, and 28 of them were assisted.
It wasn't just Samantha Logic, who met her season quota with seven dishes. Theairra Taylor had eight. Kali Peschel added six.
A lot of those were passes to Dixon and to Bethany Doolittle, who registered a career-high 25 points.
Iowa will be heavily favored in Saturday's game with Idaho State (2-5), which suffered its fifth straight loss Thursday, 78-59 at Drake.
Tipoff is 2 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It is the sixth of nine straight games for Idaho State away from home.
Lindsey Reed, a 5-foot-9 senior guard,áleads the Bengals at 15.4 points per game."I don't know a lot about them," Bluder said Thursday. "We just have one day to prepare, and I'm a little worried about our legs."