IOWA CITY — This is not a time for the forget-and-move-on philosophy.
“We’ve had a lot of positive events here the last week,” University of Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said Wednesday morning. “You want to celebrate those things. If we’re not doing that, we’re not going to get the full benefit.
“We want to keep that positive energy rolling into the next game.”
Last Thursday, the Hawkeyes upset No. 10 Penn State. Monday, they held off Northwestern in a victory that vaulted Bluder to No. 1 on the all-time Iowa wins chart at 270.
Now, they go after that benchmark 20th win.
The Hawkeyes (19-6 overall, 7-4 Big Ten) host Illinois (9-15, 2-9) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 8 p.m. Thursday.
A victory would make this team the fastest Iowa squad to reach 20 wins since 1995-96, when Angie Lee’s first team started 20-1.
“It’s been such a fun year,” Bluder said. “When you have a competitor like Samantha Logic, it really raises your intensity and your expectations.”
Logic posted a triple-double at Penn State, then fell two rebounds short of doing it again against Northwestern.
“It’s hard to find new ways to describe her,” Bluder said. “It’s just a great feeling when she’s on the floor. You get the feeling something good is going to happen.”
Illinois made significant strides last season, going 19-14 (prevailing in its only meeting with the Hawkeyes) and winning three games in the WNIT. The Fighting Illini have backtracked this year.
“They lost a lot of talent from last year,” Bluder said. “But they play a unique style of defense with their halfcourt trapping zone.”
Ivory Crawford — “a tremendous point guard,” according to Bluder — leads the Fighting Illini at 15.5 points per game. Jacqui Grant (13.4 ppg) has been out with a severe ankle sprain.
Iowa reserve forward Claire Till took a shot to the mouth in the final seconds of the Northwestern game. Two of her teeth were knocked back, requiring dental work to push them back into place.