Success 'snowballing' for Iowa women

Minnesota stands in the way next

Jeff Linder
Published: January 28 2014 | 9:00 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:45 am in

IOWA CITY -- A snowball is quietly taking shape and beginning to roll downhill.

It's gaining momentum, but now a Barn stands in the path.

The Iowa Hawkeyes (16-5 overall, 4-3 Big Ten) have won four of five games and moved into the upper division of the Big Ten women's basketball race.

"I feel like right now our team is feeling good about themselves, and it's like a snowball," Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said Saturday after the Hawkeyes handled Indiana. "It keeps getting bigger and bigger as you roll it along, and that is the way our team is flowing right now. So hopefully we'll take that snowball right up to Minnesota."

Wednesday's game (7 p.m. at Williams Arena) is a homecoming for the Hawkeyes' three Minnesotans, the final one for senior Theairra Taylor.

Iowa defeated the Gophers (13-8, 2-5) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 8, its fifth win over Minnesota in the last six games.

We've always played well in the Barn, so we're looking forward to it," Bluder said. "I did remind our team after the (Indiana) game that Minnesota (will be hungry), because they lost at our place."

Bluder was succinct in describing what it will take to build momentum for that snowball.

"Win again," she said.

The Hawkeyes are 2-0 since Bluder inserted freshman Ally Disterhoft into the starting lineup. Disterhoft is one of five Hawkeyes averaging in double figures; Bethany Doolittle leads the team at 14.3 points per game.

But the team's barometer is defense. Iowa is 14-0 in games in which it allows less than 80 points, 2-5 in games in which its surrenders 80-plus.

Rachel Banham (22.8 points per game) and Amanda Zahui (14.5) pace the Gophers.

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