IOWA CITY — No motivation needed.
That was the overwhelming message from Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder and her players during Monday’s media availability. With Indiana coming to town on Saturday, the Hawkeyes (15-5, 3-3 Big Ten) remember well who it was that handed them their first conference loss.
“This is the game that started our Big Ten season, and has some sour memories from that game,” Bluder said. “We’re looking forward to getting back on the floor against Indiana, and I think the team will be easy to motivate. I just have to write ‘Indiana’ on the board and I’ll have their full attention.”
The Hawkeyes, Bluder said, may not have had that mindset the last time around.
The Hoosier women don’t have the storied history of their male counterparts, hadn’t been stellar offensively over the years coming into this season, and Iowa’s preparation reflected that.
This time, however, the Hawkeyes won’t be taking anything for granted.
“I don’t know that I had their full attention last time (we played), because even though they were 13-0, I don’t know that (our players) realized how good of a basketball team they were, just because of their history. Now, there’s no sneaking up anymore,” Bluder said. “They score really well. Indiana used to not be able to score, so that was very helpful in playing against them. Now, (with second-year Coach Curt Miller), they’re a totally different mentality as far as scoring (and) as far as competitiveness.
“Before, they were a little downtrodden. They really didn’t feel good about themselves. Curt’s a positive guy, and I think that’s really helped them, having an attitude change, and now they believe they can win.”
That message may not have landed before, but it has now.
Point guard Samantha Logic echoed her coach in saying she and her teammates probably took Indiana too lightly, and it snuck up and bit them. With such a competitive conference, learning that lesson the hard way might not have been such a bad thing.
“I think it was a good learning point for us, because we’re a young team with not much experience in the Big Ten, that you really can’t come off on any night,” Logic said. “(Indiana) is working their way up, and they’re playing really good basketball. It shows you really can’t have an off night. Teams are so much more balanced in the Big Ten (now). It was a big wake-up call, I think, for everyone.”
The sting of the conference-opening loss, coupled with a full week to prepare should bode well for a Hawkeye squad riding high from its first win at Ohio State in its last 11 tries.
Bluder said the team would get some extra rest with no midweek game, but that they’d also try to add some new things to the fold schematically.
“It really is nice (to have some time off), because we can work on a lot of specific things in practice,” said guard Ally Disterhoft, who had 24 points and 10 rebounds in her first career start against Ohio State. “And we have a lot more time to just prepare for (Indiana) again, and make sure we have everything from the scouting report down pat, to just getting our plays perfected. I think it really is an advantage only having one game this week.”The Hawkeyes will face off against the Hoosiers at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.