Iowa women win 8th straight
|The Iowa women’s basketball team continued their hot streak on Sunday with a 73-65 win over Penn State in Happy Valley. The Hawkeyes have now won 8 straight games and moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. Iowa improved to 17-7 on the season and 10-3 in conference play. Sunday’s win over the Nittany Lions also gave coach Lisa Bluder her 500th career victory and her 144th as Iowa’s head coach.|
The Hawkeyes were led in scoring by guard Kristi Smith who poured in 20 points on 6 of 12 shooting. Senior Jo Solverson was Iowa’s next leading scorer with 16 points on 7 of 13 shooting in 24 minutes played. Solverson led the Hawkeyes with 11 points in the first half helping Iowa to a 33-28 halftime lead. Iowa shot the ball very well on the afternoon making 25 of 48 shots as a team while also connecting on 19 of 20 free throws.
The win gave Iowa a half-game lead in the conference over Purdue who plays at Michigan State tonight. The Hawkeyes will travel to West Lafayette to face Purdue on Thursday night to begin a huge three game stretch. Iowa faces the other top teams in the Big Ten in their next three games: the Boilermakers (9-3), Minnesota (8-5), and Ohio State (9-4), before finishing the regular season against cellar dwellers Northwestern (0-12) and Wisconsin (4-8).
With every victory Iowa is looking more and more like a team that deserves a bid in the Women’s NCAA Tournament, but they still have to be considered “on the bubble” thanks in large part to an average performance in non-conference games. The Hawkeyes are currently rated 38th by CollegeRPI.com and 37th by computer rating guru Jeff Sagarin. Certainly if Iowa can win 3 or 4 of their last 5 they should expect a ticket to the Big Dance. CollegeRPI.com’s current bracket projection has Iowa as an 8-seed meeting Texas in the first round.