College Womens Basketball

Iowa women's basketball making hay at the free-throw line

At 93.2 percent, Iowa's free-throw accuracy is 2nd-best in nation

Iowa’s Amanda Ollinger (43) hounds Northern Illinois guard Mikayla Voigt (right) during the Hawkeyes’ 105-80 win Wednesday. The Hawkeyes host Western Michigan on Sunday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa’s Amanda Ollinger (43) hounds Northern Illinois guard Mikayla Voigt (right) during the Hawkeyes’ 105-80 win Wednesday. The Hawkeyes host Western Michigan on Sunday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The sample size still is relatively small, but the numbers jump off a stats page.

Iowa’s free-throw rate — in terms of both volume and accuracy — is staggering.

“I don’t even talk about it. I don’t want to jinx us,” women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said Friday. “I like the way we’re heading, but I’m not going to bring it up.”

Well, then, we will.

Through three games, the Hawkeyes rank No. 2 in the country in free-throw accuracy at 93.2 percent (55 of 59). They have gone to the line more than three times as often as their opponents, and have outscored them there by a 55-12 margin.

That’s part of the reason Iowa is scoring 97.3 points per game and takes a 3-0 record into Sunday’s game against Western Michigan (2-1). Tipoff is 2 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It marks the return of former Hawkeye star Tangela Smith, an assistant on the WMU staff. Smith was an all-Big Ten post, winning two Big Ten championships and a Big Ten tournament during her career (1994-98), then played 15 years in the WNBA, winning a pair of titles.

“We’re excited to bring her back,” Bluder said. “And we want to keep rolling.”

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The Hawkeyes have scored 100-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time in school history. They’re shooting 53.5 percent from the floor, and they’re outrebounding their opponents by 17.6 boards per game.

“When you have two bigs on the floor, you should be getting more rebounds,” Bluder said. “And we usually do have two bigs on the floor.”

Junior Megan Gustafson is 3-for-3 in double-doubles this season, and is averaging 24.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game. The other front-courters — Chase Coley, Hannah Stewart and Carly Mohns — have provided significant support.

Western Michigan has played all of its games on the road thus far, splitting two in New Mexico and winning at Loyola of Chicago. A 6-foot-1 junior forward, Brenna Mobley leads the Broncos with 13 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Sunday’s game is the first of four this week for the Hawkeyes. They play three games — against Morgan State, Charlotte and Elon — in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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