Jan. 13, 2014
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's January edition of Hawk Talk Monthly, the UI athletics department's online publication.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa women's basketball team enjoyed a successful run during 2013, and hopes to carry that momentum over into 2014.
"It was a special year," said senior Theairra Taylor. "We did a lot of great things with some great teammates. We made a lot of great memories, and we want to carry that over into this year."
Head coach Lisa Bluder became the 42nd coach in NCAA women's basketball history (all divisions) and only the 25th Division I head coach (minimum 10 years at a DI school) to collect 600 wins when Iowa defeated No. 11 Purdue, 62-46, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Bluder, one of 13 active Division I coaches with 600 or more wins, enters 2014 in need of seven wins to surpass Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer (269) as Iowa's all-time winningest coach.
The Hawkeyes concluded last year with a win in the NCAA Tournament at home inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa overcame a seven-point second half deficit to defeat Miami (Fla.), 69-53, in the first round, and concluded the year with 21 wins.
"It has been a great year," said junior guard Melissa Dixon. "Playing in the NCAA Tournament at home was so much fun. It is probably my favorite memory since I have been at Iowa. Also, the start of this season has been great."
The Hawkeyes finished the nonconference slate this year with a 12-2 mark, including two top-25 victories.
Iowa's 12 wins prior to the start of conference play equaled the most in a season under Bluder. Iowa finished 12-1 in its pre-conference slate during the 2010-11 campaign. The Hawkeyes were 11-3 prior to the start of league play last season, and 11-0 in 2004-05.
"2013 was awesome," said junior guard Samantha Logic. "We were excited to host the NCAA Tournament, and we look forward to hosting again in 2014."
The UI and Carver-Hawkeye Arena will serve as a host for the first-and-second round of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
"We had a great start to the year this season, losing only to two ranked opponents on their home floor," said Logic. "We took care of business in other games, and we need to do that in Big Ten play so carry over our success into 2014."
The Hawkeyes hope to play in the NCAA Tournament in front of their home fans for the second-straight year. To do so, Iowa will need another strong finish in the always-tough Big Ten.
"Overall, this is the best conference in the nation," said Logic, who has moved into second in all-time assists at Iowa. "You cannot have an off night. Any team can win on any given day. We see that every year. It is an awesome league to play in. You have to bring a lot of energy."
"Anything can happen on any given night in the Big Ten," said Dixon. "We have to be up for every game; there is no easy game. It is fun to play in a challenging conference like the Big Ten."