One Big Ten women’s basketball team brings an unblemished record into conference play this week.
It’s not defending Big Ten champion and No. 15 Penn State.
It’s not last year’s Big Ten tournament champ Purdue or even No. 18 Nebraska who advanced to the sweet 16 last March.
No, the only remaining unbeaten Big Ten team is Indiana, who brings a 13-0 record into Thursday’s 6 p.m. matchup with No. 22 Iowa at Assembly Hall.
That is the same Indiana team that won 11 games all of last year and finished last in the Big Ten with two conference wins.
“I didn’t think at all that we’d be facing the only undefeated team in the league in this game,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Definitely Indiana would be the surprise team in the Big Ten going 13-0.”
The 13 straight wins to open the season has the Hoosiers off to the best start in program history and is the longest winning streak in school history.
Indiana enters tonight’s game tied for the most wins of any team in the country.
“It is surprising,” Bluder said. “You think they are going to have at least one slip-up here or there or on the road or something, but they haven’t.”
Iowa isn’t undefeated, but they aren’t far from it.
The Hawkeyes (12-2) enter conference play winners of eight of their last nine games.
Both of Iowa’s losses have come to teams ranked in the top 15 in the country while Indiana has yet to play a team that appeared in this week’s top 25-poll.
“They probably haven’t challenged themselves as much as some schools in the Big Ten, but they have learned to win and that is a huge thing as far as confidence and as far as belief,” Bluder said. “They are also starting three freshman, and they just quite honestly don’t know better. They don’t know they are supposed to lose, they don’t know about the Indiana tradition.”
Nearly as surprising as the Hoosiers’ 13-0 record is how they have gotten there.
Indiana has gotten large contributions from several freshmen this season, but no freshman has had a bigger impact than point guard Larryn Brooks.
The 5-foot-5 Brooks leads the Hoosiers in scoring at 18.7 points per game and adds a team-best 3.4 assists per game.
“The biggest surprise would be that their point guard Larryn Brooks is leading them in scoring,” Bluder said. “She is an unbelievable scorer for them as their point guard and as a freshman.”
Iowa wrapped up non-conference play last week with an 88-62 win over North Dakota.
The Hawkeyes now turn their attention to a Big Ten schedule that has Iowa playing three games in seven days beginning tonight in Bloomington.
Iowa returns home to face No. 15 Penn State on Sunday.
“It’s an attention getter for our team when they see that Indiana is unbeaten and we have to play at their place,” Bluder said. “I think that is a tough scenario but the games come fast now.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball