Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder is hoping a little rest and a little relaxation for her team pays off in the form of wins.
Iowa players had four days off for the holidays following their Dec. 21 73-51 win over Drake.
The Hawkeyes returned to practice Thursday and Friday in preparation for today’s 2 p.m. matchup with North Dakota (6-3).
“Sometimes it’s kind of nice to get away from it a little bit,” Bluder said. “It’s good mentally to get away from a little bit, and it’s good physically to have a little bit of a break as well. I actually expect them to come back with a little more legs.”
Today’s game with North Dakota will be the final tuneup for No. 21 Iowa (11-2) before beginning Big Ten conference play Thursday at Indiana.
The Hawkeyes’ conference slate opens with a frenzy as the Hawkeyes play three games in a span of seven days.
Iowa hosts No. 15 Penn State on Jan. 5 and Minnesota on Jan. 8.
“We need to come out and play like we know how to play,” senior Theairra Taylor said. “We need to play with a lot more confidence, especially in the first half, and that will take us into Big Ten with a lot of confidence.”
Iowa had a nine-day break for finals week between a loss to Iowa State on Dec. 12 and its win over Drake on Dec. 21.
The Hawkeyes struggled to a 28-24 halftime lead in the win over Drake before exploding for 45 second half points.
Iowa was out-rebounded by Drake in the opening half and shot just four free throws in the 73-51 win over the Bulldogs.
Bluder is hopeful that the Hawkeyes avoid any first-half struggles in today’s final nonconference game.
“I just want us to put two good halves executing well together,” Bluder said. “We want to clean up a little bit of our mistakes as far as rebounding, and again, we do need to get to the line more, that’s a strength of ours when we get there so we need to get there more than our opponents are and that’s reversed at this point.”
North Dakota (6-3) at No. 21 Iowa (11-2)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Radio: KXIC 800-AM.
Stat Leaders: Iowa – Melissa Dixon 15.4 ppg., 2.5 apg.; Sam Logic 13.7 ppg., 6.3 rpg., 6.8 apg.; Ally Disterhoft 11.8 ppg., 6.5 rpg. North Dakota – Madi Buck 17.4 ppg., 7.2 rpg.; Mia Loyd 13.4 ppg., 11.6 rpg.; Leah Szabla 7.9 ppg., 3.8 apg.
About the Hawkeyes: Iowa has five players averaging double figures in scoring this season and has had three players or more score in double figures in each of the last 11 games.
About the Sioux: North Dakota has won three straight games and five of six after a 1-3 start. The Sioux are 0-2 in games in Iowa this season falling at Iowa State 84-55 and UNI 61-56.
What to watch: Both teams will be playing their first game in a week today. North Dakota defeated Northern Colorado 68-65 last Saturday while Iowa downed Drake 73-51.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball