Wanted (and needed) for Iowa women's basketball: A road win in Indiana

Women's basketball: Success in Purdue/Indiana swing could vault Iowa to NCAA

Iowa’s Amanda Ollinger (43) puts up a shot between Northwestern’s Nia Coffey (10) and Abi Scheid (44) during the second quarter of the Hawkeyes’ 78-59 win Thursday. Iowa plays at Purdue at 11 a.m. Sunday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa’s Amanda Ollinger (43) puts up a shot between Northwestern’s Nia Coffey (10) and Abi Scheid (44) during the second quarter of the Hawkeyes’ 78-59 win Thursday. Iowa plays at Purdue at 11 a.m. Sunday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The Iowa Hawkeyes have one Big Ten women’s basketball road victory.

Sometime in the next week, somewhere in Indiana, they need at least one more.

The Hawkeyes (16-10 overall, 7-6 Big Ten) begin a pivotal Hoosier State swing Sunday with a game at Purdue (16-11, 7-6).

Tipoff is 11 a.m. (Iowa time) at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.

“Playing at Purdue is always a tough place to play,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said, and history provides evidence of that.

The Hawkeyes dropped 12 consecutive games at Mackey from 2000 through 2012, but have won two of their last four.

Iowa makes another trip east Wednesday, at Indiana (18-8, 8-5), then concludes the regular season at home against Wisconsin (5-20, 1-12) next Sunday.

Win out, and the Hawkeyes very well could finish fourth in the Big Ten and earn a double-bye at the conference tournament.

Win two of three, and Iowa should be in pretty good shape for an NCAA tournament berth. But that means at least a split in Indiana is necessary.

The Hawkeyes were impressive Thursday in a 78-59 win at home over Northwestern. They cruised without Tania Davis (out for the season with a torn ACL), Bre Cera and Christina Buttenham (both with post-concussion symptoms).

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“My players, every time, they handle every situation,” Bluder said. “They’re staying positive, they’re staying confident. They can handle it.”

Amanda Ollinger, a freshman from Cedar Rapids, played her first extended role since the Big Ten season began, logging 11 minutes and contributing five points and six rebounds.

“Amanda has practiced hard all year, but definitely with Bre and Christina being out, it forced the hand on a lot of things, but she’s definitely earned it,” Bluder said.

Purdue leads the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing 58.7 points per game.

Sophomore Megan Gustafson leads the Hawkeyes at 17.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Senior Ally Disterhoft (16.5 ppg) needs 32 points to become the second player in school history to reach 2,000 for a career.

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

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