College Womens Basketball

Iowa's Makenzie Meyer sidelined "indefinitely" with broken hand

Women's basketball: No. 21 Iowa opens Big Ten schedule Thursday at Wisconsin

Iowa guard Makenzie Meyer (3) blocks the ball from Drake’s Maddie Monahan (2) as she drives toward the basket in the Hawkeyes’ win Dec. 21. The Gazette learned that Meyer broke a bone in her left hand at practice Wednesday and is out “indefinitely.” (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa guard Makenzie Meyer (3) blocks the ball from Drake’s Maddie Monahan (2) as she drives toward the basket in the Hawkeyes’ win Dec. 21. The Gazette learned that Meyer broke a bone in her left hand at practice Wednesday and is out “indefinitely.” (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — For the second time in less than two weeks, the Iowa Hawkeyes have been dealt a devastating blow.

Makenzie Meyer suffered a broken bone in her left (non-shooting) hand toward the end of women’s basketball practice Wednesday, The Gazette has learned.

A sophomore from Mason City, Meyer is out “indefinitely,” according to a source close to the program. She could be back within two weeks, or it could be longer.

Meyer’s absence further depletes the backcourt for the 21st-ranked Hawkeyes (12-1), who open Big Ten play Thursday at Wisconsin (7-6).

Tipoff is 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

Point guard Tania Davis tore the ACL and medial meniscus in her left knee Dec. 17 at Northern Iowa. Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said Wednesday — in an interview before practice (and thus, before Meyer’s injury) — that Davis will undergo surgery Jan. 4. Her season is over.

Meyer, named Miss Iowa Basketball in 2016, is third on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game and leads the Hawkeyes in assists (65).

Her absence most likely means that sophomore Amanda Ollinger, a former Linn-Mar prep, will make the first start of her career Thursday.

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Wednesday’s practice was the Hawkeyes’ second since scattering for Christmas after a victory over Drake last Thursday.

Megan Gustafson had a flight cancelled from Duluth, Minn., — near her home in Port Wing, Wis. — back to Iowa, forcing her father, Clendon to drive her to Iowa City in an eight-hour trek Tuesday.

“A real-life superhero,” Megan called her father on Twitter.

The Hawkeyes play five of their first seven Big Ten games on the road.

“I don’t really look at it as five of seven being on the road,” Bluder said. “I just kind of break it into week-long chunks.

“I know that Thursday we’re at Wisconsin, and that Sunday we host Michigan. I don’t know who we play after that.”

This has been a one-sided series lately; the Hawkeyes have beaten Wisconsin 17 straight times. Eleven of those games have been decided by 10 points or less, though, and three have gone overtime.

“Sometimes it becomes a mental thing,” Bluder said. “You just feel like you have the other team’s number.”

The Hawkeyes shouldn’t be caught looking ahead. That happened in their Big Ten opener last year, and got burned at Illinois.

“That still bothers me, to be honest,” Bluder said. “We didn’t have complete focus for that game.

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“We discussed that before we left for break. We have to be ready, because this year’s Wisconsin team is better than last year’s Illinois team.”

The Hawkeyes lead the nation in assists per game (23.8), are fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58-to-1) and fifth in field-goal percentage (.513).

Still, Bluder said, there is work to be done.

“No coach is completely happy,” she said. “Our passing decisions can get better. Boxing out ... getting players other than Megan to the offensive boards ... there’s always room for improvement.”

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

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