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Hawks to face Illini in final regular season game Sunday

[ 0 ] March 1, 2014 |

Consistency, consistency, consistency.

As the Iowa women’s basketball team enters its final game of the regular season Sunday against Illinois at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill., the Hawkeyes are in familiar territory.

Coach Lisa Bluder’s squad has an opportunity to pass Purdue for fourth place and thus a first round bye in next week’s Big Ten Tournament and also can tie the most amount of wins in a single season under Bluder. Iowa (22-7, 10-5 Big Ten) has won 20 or more games six of the last seven seasons. Illinois (9-19, 2-13), on the other hand, enters Sunday’s final contest losers of nine straight.

Purdue is tied for fourth with Iowa, but the Boilermakers play Nebraska to close out the 2013-14 campaign. The Cornhuskers are tied for first with Penn State and Michigan State. If both Iowa and Purdue win Sunday, Purdue holds the tiebreaker, having defeated the Hawkeyes on Feb. 16. All five teams are locks to advance to the NCAA Tournament later this month as well.

“Some teams at this time of year can start to feel pressure and then play not to lose instead of playing to enjoy the experience. … We want this season to last as long as possible,” Bluder said.

Iowa hopes its success in transition will carry over to Sunday. The Hawkeyes dominated in fast break points in their 65-61 win Thursday over Ohio State, outscoring the Buckeyes 20-6 in fast break points.

The transition offense contributes highly to Iowa’s Big Ten leading 78.7 points and 18 assists per game.

“It definitely feeds into our offense and gets us hyped on the offensive end,” Bethany Doolittle said of success on the fast break. “We’re able to push in transition and get easy baskets.”

No. 25 Iowa (22-7, 10-5) at Illinois (9-19, 2-13)

When: 3 p.m. Sunday.

Where: State Farm Center.

Radio: KXIC 800-AM.

TV: BTN.

Stat Leaders: Iowa – Samantha Logic 14.1 ppg., 7.6 apg., 6.6 rpg.; Bethany Doolittle 13.9 ppg., 4.9 rpg., 3.3 bpg; Melissa Dixon 13.3 ppg., 2.2 rpg.

Illinois – Amber Moore 14.9 ppg., 4.9 rpg; Ivory Crawford 14.6 ppg., 5.6 rpg.; Jacqui Grant 13.4 ppg., 6 rpg.

About the Hawkeyes: Iowa has won eight of its last 10 games and is coming off a 65-61 win over Ohio State on Thursday. The Hawkeyes won the first meeting between these two teams 69-55 on Feb. 13 in Iowa City.

About the Fighting Illini: Illinois has lost nine straight since upsetting Michigan State 61-51 in East Lansing on Jan. 23. The Illini are 6-7 at home this season but haven’t won a home Big Ten game (0-7).

What to watch: Iowa can clinch the number four seed in the Big Ten tournament and a first round bye with a win today and a Purdue loss to Nebraska.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

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