Feb. 20, 2014
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The good news -- if there ever is good news after a tough loss -- is that the University of Iowa women's basketball team is pretty good on the rebound.
Only once this season have the Hawkeyes (20-7 overall, 8-5 Big Ten Conference) lost back-to-back games. After the last two setbacks -- at home to Michigan State and Nebraska -- they went on three-game winning streaks. If that happens again, Iowa will take momentum -- and probably receive a first-round bye -- in the Big Ten Tournament.
"That's the goal for us right now," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said of receiving the coveted day off in postseason play. "It's very important for us."
"If you want to have success, you have to deal with frustrations. We're kind of taking that approach rather than hammering on them about the Purdue loss. It is frustrating, but we have to move on if we want to be successful."
UI basketball coach
First, there is a crucial road matchup against Michigan (17-10, 8-6) on Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. (CT) tip from Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Iowa and Purdue are tied for fourth place in the league standings (and the final first-round bye); Michigan is all alone in sixth place, ½ game behind.
"We know we have three games left of the regular season and we know this Michigan game is extremely important because we only play them once," Bluder said. "For tie-breaker scenarios, this is an important game."
In the latest Big Ten scheduling quirk, with four games left in the regular season, the Hawkeyes play back-to-back for the first and only time against Purdue (Feb. 16) and Michigan.
"We don't put a lot of stock into those types of things," Bluder said. "It doesn't matter where we play them or when we play them; it is about giving our best performance every game."
It has been four days since Iowa dropped a 74-73 decision to the Boilermakers after leading by 18 points with 48 seconds left in the first half. It was the third game in seven days for the Hawkeyes, but Bluder isn't making excuses.
"It might have had an issue with us in missing some of those short shots that we normally don't miss in the second half," she said. "We missed them, and whether we had games or no games, we missed them and that's the bottom line."
Instead, Bluder will use the agony of defeat as a learning tool.
"If you want to have success, you have to deal with frustrations," Bluder said. "We're kind of taking that approach rather than hammering on them about the Purdue loss. It is frustrating, but we have to move on if we want to be successful."
Iowa has won 3-of-4 in the series against Michigan. The teams split two games last season with the Wolverines winning 68-64 in Iowa City, and the Hawkeyes winning 63-57 on Michigan's home court.