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Preview: Hawks head to Florida

[ 0 ] November 22, 2012 |

The Iowa women’s basketball team is spending the week in sunny Florida.

They hope to return with three wins and zero restraining orders.

The Hawks will enjoy their off day Saturday in Miami by taking in an NBA game. Junior Theairra Taylor and freshman Claire Till are both “huge” LeBron James fans.

“I think (Taylor) jumped higher for that than for rebounds,” sophomore Sam Logic said about her teammate when told of the team’s plan to see the Miami Heat. “She was the most excited.”

Iowa coach Lisa Bluder is excited for the chance to take her team on the road for the first time.

“That’s when relationships are really built is when you’re on the road, you’re celebrating a holiday like Thanksgiving together,” Bluder said. “And we’re going to have a little bit of fun.”

Of course, the off day will be more fun if Iowa (4-1) can beat Florida International (1-2) in the opening round of the FIU Thanksgiving Classic at 5 p.m. today.

The Panthers were a WNIT team last spring and finished 23-11. Junior Jerica Coley is the Preseason Player of the Year in the Sun Belt Conference. The 5-foot-7 guard averages 13.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. She also has 14 blocked shots.

Six-foot-3 center Manita Davydova leads FIU with 15.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. She transferred to FIU from the Russian Agrarian University and is a native of Moscow.

Like Robert Morris, FIU has several international players in its lineup. The Hawkeyes also may see more zone defense, which the Hawkeyes struggled with at times Tuesday in the 58-44 win over the Colonials.

“I think we’re going to have to do a better job of scoring against the zone,” Bluder said after the win. “I was happy again with our defense, because it was a different defensive scheme and they were able to put that into motion.”

The tournament also features LSU and No. 12 West Virginia. Iowa will play one of them at noon or 2 pm. Sunday.

Iowa will stay in Florida and travel to Florida State on Nov. 28 for the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup, taking on the Seminoles.

In addition to the games, the Hawkeyes will have bus trips, practices and down time to bond. That can only help the five new players.

“That’s where you really build your team chemistry, more than just on the basketball court,” Logic said. “We do love each other, we love hanging out together and being together for a week straight. … I don’t think our team really gets tired of that. It’s really nice.”

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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