Dec. 18, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- For the past six days the Dec. 12 loss at No. 11 Iowa State has festered with the University of Iowa women's basketball team. Now the next hurdle is in site with Drake coming to town Saturday afternoon.
"We want to get back on the winning ways," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said Wednesday during a news conference in the Media Room inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "That's important for us before the holidays, to go home with a good feeling."
Heading into the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup against the Cyclones, Iowa was flying high. The Hawkeyes were winners of six straight to improve to 10-1 on the year. Iowa got rattled early and never recovered, falling 83-70 in Ames.
"Practice on Friday (Dec. 13) wasn't a lot of fun," said Bluder. "It's one of those things where you have to use it as a motivator. Winning is fun, but you move on, and you learn more from a loss, unfortunately."
Bluder says Iowa needs to focus on its defense. The Hawkeyes were whistled for 30 personal fouls, which led to 49 free throw attempts for Iowa State, and the Cyclones out-rebounded Iowa, 46-37.
"We want to get back on the winning ways. That's important for us before the holidays, to go home with a good feeling."
UI head coach Lisa Bluder
"It was difficult to sit on a loss like that for as long as we have been," said freshman Ally Disterhoft. "We've used these past couple of days of practice to fine-tune a few things like rebounding and our free throws. The last couple of days have been beneficial, and we'll be ready to go against Drake."
The Bulldogs come to Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a 5-4 record. Drake has won its last three contests over Coastal Carolina, Idaho State and SIU Edwardsville by an average margin of 17 points.
A pair of Drake players average double figures. Kyndal Clark, who scored 35 points Tuesday in an 87-71 win over the Cougars, averages 17 points, while Liz Wendell scores 12.8 per contest. The Bulldogs let it fly from long range, making an average of 8.7 3-pointers per game, while shooting 37 percent.
"They're a good 3-point shooting team," said Bluder. "They penetrate and pitch very well. We have to identify who their shooters are, which is almost everyone on the court. We have to get out there on the pass and not give up those uncontested 3s.
"We have the height advantage, and we need to use it. At the same time, if they're making 3s, and we're making 2s, that is not a good tradeoff."
One of the game's biggest story line will involve Drake head coach Jennie (Lillis) Baranczyk returning to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the first time as a head coach. During her Hawkeye career, Baranczyk was an honorable mention All-American and a three-time All-Big Ten selection.
"It'd rather not be playing her," said Bluder. "I'd rather my former players be coaching, and I never have to coach against them. It's not something I look forward to doing.
"I will cheer for Drake every single game of the year except for this one. This one, we're out to win."
Saturday's game is set to tipoff at 4 p.m. (CT), and it will be televised on Mediacom with Rob Brooks and Shelley Till on the call.