IOWA CITY — Maybe it’s a “soft” 13-0. But still …
“Any time you’re (undefeated), you’re playing with a lot of confidence,” said Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder.
“(A losing) culture can be hard to change. But (Curt Miller) has done that (at Indiana), and that makes them dangerous.”
The Big Ten season begins for the 23rd-ranked Hawkeyes (12-2) at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., with a tipoff of 6 p.m. (Iowa time). And an encounter with the Hoosiers is no longer a gimme.
Indiana is 13-0 for the first time in the history of its program. The Hoosiers are the league’s only team to go unscathed through the pre-conference slate.
Noted, they haven’t faced a Who’s Who of powerhouses. Indiana’s strength of schedule thus far ranks 184th-toughest in the country, and Hoosiers aren’t even in the Others Receiving Votes category of the USA Today top 25.
But still, it’s a promising start for a program that was a combined 6-42 the last three Big Ten seasons.
Miller in his second year at IU after a successful 11-year tenure at Bowling Green. His first campaign in Bloomington netted an 11-19 record, which was five more wins than the previous year. The Hoosiers very nearly knocked off the Hawkeyes in Iowa City last year before Iowa escaped, 75-70.
“The thing I notice is that they’ve put up a lot of points,” Bluder said.
Indiana is averaging 78.3 points per game, led by freshman guard Larryn Brooks (18.7 ppg).
Iowa closed its non-conference schedule with an 88-62 win over North Dakota on Saturday. Considering the competition, which featured four top-25 teams, a 12-2 start is an accomplishment. Plus, unlike most recent seasons, the Hawkeyes haven’t been bitten significantly by injuries.
The first week of league play is a pivotal week. No. 17 Penn State comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday.
“We’re ready,” said junior point guard Samantha Logic. “The great thing about the Big Ten is, anyone can win on any given night.
“We played 26 minutes of great basketball (against North Dakota). Now we have to extend that to 40.”