Iowa women head to Purdue in search of first-round bye

Win could clinch top-four Big Ten seed

Published: February 15 2014 | 6:58 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:42 am in

IOWA CITY — Iowa will play its third game in seven days today, hitting the road for a Big Ten women’s basketball game at No. 23 Purdue.

Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at Mackey Arena.

The Hawkeyes are coming off back-to-back wins over Northwestern and Illinois — both at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Boilermakers had the week off.

“At this time of year, to be quite honest, kids would rather play than practice,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “So I’m assuming (Purdue’s) going to be rusty and were going to be ready to go.”

Iowa (20-6) is fourth in the Big Ten at 8-4, just ahead of Purdue (17-7, 7-5). This is their only meeting of the season, and with just four regular season games left for the Hawks, a win today could secure a No. 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament.

“That top four seed is so important because those top four get first-round byes ...” Bluder said. “You really have the advantage if you’re in those four seeds.”

Three of Iowa’s four remaining games are on the road. But that shouldn’t be a problem for the Hawks, who have won four games in a row away from Iowa City — Jan. 12 at Wisconsin, Jan. 19 at Ohio State, Jan. 29 at Minnesota and Feb. 6 at Penn State.

“I feel like our team is playing well on the road,” Bluder said. “We won at (Purdue) last year. I know they are in the Top 25, but I think we play our best against those types of teams.”

The Hawkeyes, 3-4 against ranked opponents this season, have beaten Purdue three times in a row. The Boilermakers hold a 35-28 advantage in the series, however.

“Moving forward now, we obviously have to play some pretty good teams,” freshman Ally Disterhoft said after Thursday’s win over Illinois. “We’re going to take this momentum into these upcoming games and try to keep going.”

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