116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A long season comes with its ebbs and flows.
These days, the Iowa Hawkeyes are on their highest crest of the season.
“We’re shooting well,” Coach Lisa Bluder said. “We’re a different team when we’re shooting well from 3-point range. We have people that are stepping up and hitting 3s. We’re shooting at a consistently good rate.”
This is consistent, and this is more than good:
At Michigan: 59.6 percent from the field, 45.0 percent from long range.
Home vs. Northwestern: 59.3 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from deep.
Home vs. Penn State: 54.5 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from distance.
Win. Win. Win.
“Our assists have been really high,” Bluder said. “Our confidence is really growing. We’re getting that swag a little bit.”
The 10th-ranked Hawkeyes (14-4 overall, 6-1 Big Ten) will try to carry that momentum into a place that has haunted them lately. They’ll face Michigan State (10-8, 2-5) at 6 p.m. (CT) Wednesday, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich (B1G+).
Iowa has lost 10 of its last 11 at East Lansing.
“It’s been a tough place to play in the past. It’s a dangerous place to play against a team that loves to press,” Bluder said.
The Spartans are the only team with a win over Indiana this season. On the other hand, they lost to Wisconsin, so they’re kind of all over the place.
Iowa faced a pressing team in Penn State on Saturday, and shredded the Lady Lions’ defense, particularly early. The Hawkeyes made 15 of their first 17 shots, erupted for 34 first-quarter points and cruised, 108-67.
In their current winning streak, the Hawkeyes have averaged 23.7 assists to 14.0 turnovers, and have averaged 31.0 bench points per game.
Cedar Rapids native Hannah Stuelke, Molly Davis and Sydney Affolter have emerged as the key reserves.
“It’s one thing to have depth,” Bluder said. “It’s another to have depth that you can count on.”
Affolter scored a career-high 12 points against Penn State.
“Trust is earned in practice,” Bluder said. “She attacks the offensive boards. She has scored well the last couple of games, though we don’t expect her to go out and score 15 a game for us.
“If she’s a threat from outside, that forces another defender out there. And her defense has improved so much since last year.”
Stuelke’s stock continues to rise steadily, and she had been key in the last three games, scoring nine, 17 and 11.
However, she did fall into early foul trouble against Penn State.
“Part of it is just the educational process,” Bluder said. “When you come in, you don’t know how the college game is called. It’s just experience. She just needs to know what she can’t get away with.”
Kamaria McDaniel paces the Spartans at 14.3 points per game.