Newly ranked Iowa women's basketball team in finals mode

No. 25 Iowa in polls for first time in 2 years

Iowa's Tania Davis throws a no-look pass to teammate Makenzie Meyer for an easy basket during the Hawkeyes' win over on Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday. The Hawkeyes are at UNI on Sunday. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)
Iowa's Tania Davis throws a no-look pass to teammate Makenzie Meyer for an easy basket during the Hawkeyes' win over on Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday. The Hawkeyes are at UNI on Sunday. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)

IOWA CITY — It’s about time. That was Tania Davis’ reaction when she saw the Iowa Hawkeyes in the women’s basketball top 25 this week.

“It’s a great feeling to be there,” Davis said at the Hawkeyes’ press conference Wednesday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “I feel like we should have been there weeks ago.”

Iowa (10-1) is ranked No. 25 both in the Coaches Poll and the Associated Press. It’s the Hawkeyes’ first poll appearance since the middle of the 2015-16 season.

“I think it’s more validation than anything,” Megan Gustafson said. “We just want to keep it going, keep chipping away and go higher.”

The Hawkeyes are coming off back-to-back WNIT appearances after eight straight NCAAs. They already have four wins this season over 2017 NCAA squads (Quinnipiac, Western Kentucky, Elon and Iowa State) and lost a one-pointer to Florida State.

Next up are Northern Iowa (2 p.m. Sunday at Cedar Falls) and Drake (Dec. 21, at Iowa City). Both of those were NCAA teams, too.

“When we have an opportunity to play against NCAA teams from last year, we want to do well,” Coach Lisa Bluder said. “It’s the best indicator we have right now.”

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Since Saturday’s win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the Hawkeyes have been entrenched in finals. Davis, for example, faces a Spanish exam Thursday and a biomechanics test Friday.

Basketball practice has been more individual and fine-tuning.

“We’ve just stepped back and worked on what we need to improve on,” Gustafson said.

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You’d think that would a short list for Gustafson, who is among the nation’s leaders in points and rebounds per game (21.5 and 12.5, respectively) and field-goal percentage (.700).

“(Assistant coach Jan Jensen) tells me to keep doing what I’m doing, keep being me,” Gustafson said. “I do want to decrease my turnovers and keep improving on boxing out.”

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

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