Next up for Nebraska are two straight road games, beginning with a Saturday afternoon tip-off against Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 2 p.m. (CT).
The Hawkeyes head into the game after winning three straight and five of their last six games, including Wednesday night’s 64-56 decision at Minnesota. Iowa started league play with back-to-back losses to Indiana and Penn State, but have found a consistent offensive rhythm as of late, especially after making a lineup change three games ago before an 81-74 win at Ohio State on Jan. 19.
Ally Disterhoft, a 6-0 freshman guard, replaced Kali Peschel in the Hawkeye lineup and led Iowa to its first road win over the Buckeyes since 1998. Disterhoft, a native of Iowa City, was the 2013 Iowa Miss Basketball and a Parade All-American coming out of high school. She finished with a double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds to go along with 24 points at Ohio State. Half of those points came at the free throw line where she finished off a 12-for-12 game by hitting all six of her attempts over the final 28 seconds to hold off a late Buckeye rally.
Disterhoft added 15 points in a win against Indiana and posted her third straight double-figure scoring total with a team-high 13 points in Wednesday’s win at Minnesota. Disterhoft averages 12.7 points per game for an Iowa team that has five players averaging in double figures.
Disterhoft's mother, Missy (Slockett) Disterhoft played basketball with Iowa assistant coaches Jan Jensen and Jenni Fitzgerald at Drake in the mid-1980’s. Slockett was the Gateway Conference Freshman of the Year in 1986 and was an opposing player during my first season describing women’s basketball on the radio.
Samantha Logic was named to the midseason Lieberman Award Watch List recently. The 5-9 junior guard is the only player in the Big Ten to average 13 or more points (13.8 ppg), six or more rebounds (6.5 rpg), and six or more assists (7.2 apg). In addition to leading the team in rebounds and assists, Logic has a team-high 53 steals. She nearly posted her third triple-double of the season in the win at Minnesota with 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, playing all 40 minutes.
Bethany Doolittle has been a nice replacement for Morgan Johnson, a dominant center who graduated after last season. The 6-4 junior center leads the Big Ten and ranks 10th nationally in blocked shots (3.3 bpg). She leads the team in scoring (14.1 ppg).
Iowa is the only Big Ten team with three players averaging 13.9 points or more, including 5-8 junior guard Melissa Dixon. After starting the season 7-of-46 from long range, Dixon has made 53 of her last 128 (.414) three-pointers. She leads the team with 60 triples and is second on the squad in scoring (14.0 ppg).
Theairra Taylor, a 5-11 guard, rounds out the Hawkeyes' probable starting lineup. Iowa’s only senior missed a total of 53 games with three different ACL injuries in a 20-month span from 2009 to 2011, but started all 34 games last season. This year she has started every game and averages 10.9 points per contest.
Iowa has been hot early in games and has blitzed teams with quick starts. The Hawkeyes like to win games with high scores, ranking 17th nationally and first in the Big Ten in scoring offense (80.5 ppg). On the flip side, Iowa ranks 221st in Division I in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of 68.7 points per game. The Hawkeyes also have a negative rebounding margin (-1.4), which ranks 212th among 343 teams in the nation.
Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder can match legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer’s Iowa record of 269 victories Saturday. In her 14th season at Iowa, Bluder is 624-304 in 30 years overall, including stints at Drake (1990-2000) and St. Ambrose (1984-1990). Bluder’s last six teams have reached the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa has not defeated Nebraska since the Huskers joined the Big Ten. NU also ended Iowa’s run in the Big Ten Tournament in 2013 with a 76-61 win in the quarterfinals in suburban Chicago. Jordan Hooper had 24 points in just 28 minutes to lead the Huskers. Nebraska leads the all-time series 10-7, including wins in each of the last six games. In last season’s meeting in Iowa City, the Huskers escaped with a 76-75 win. Hooper led Nebraska with 29 points and NU knocked down 10 three-pointers and went 14-of-16 from the free throw line.
I cordially invite you to join Jeff Griesch and me for Nebraska women’s basketball on the Husker Sports Network. Our radio broadcast Saturday afternoon begins with the pregame show at 1:45 p.m. (central) with the tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m. on the Husker Sports Network including KBBK (B107.3) in Lincoln, KFFF 93.3 in Omaha, KRVN 880 in Lexington; KCOW 1400 in Alliance, KLLIQ 94.5 in Hastings, KNEB 960 in Scottsbluff, KSID 1340 in Sidney, KWBE 1450 in Beatrice, KGMT 1310 in Fairbury, KRGI 1430 in Grand Island, KODY 1240 and KTZL 93.5 in North Platte, KFMT105.5 in Fremont, and many others. All Husker women’s basketball broadcasts are also available for free worldwide on the internet at www.huskers.com. I hope you can join us.
There are a number of ways to get enhanced information about our broadcast and Husker Women’s Basketball via social media. You can learn more about the team on the Nebraska Women’s Basketball Facebook page or follow the team on their official Twitter page @huskerswbb. I also invite you to friend me on Facebook (Matt Coatney) or follow me on Twitter @coatman1.
Go Big Red!