IOWA CITY — Lisa Bluder hopes the Iowa Hawkeyes’ strengths shine through in their women’s basketball exhibition game Sunday.
And, just as importantly, she hopes some weaknesses are exposed.
“This gives us a chance to get our nerves out,” Bluder said. “We’re at the time of the season that it’s a grind, and the kids want to play in front of people instead of against each other all of the time.
“I hope (Winona State) is able to point out some weaknesses, so we have time to correct them.”
Tipoff Sunday is 2 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes are coming off a memorable season — a school-record-tying 29 wins, a Big Ten tournament championship and advancement to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Consensus national player of the year Megan Gustafson has graduated, along with Hannah Stewart and Tania Davis.
That leaves two returning starters, senior guards Kathleen Doyle (a preseason all-Big Ten pick) and Makenzie Meyer. Bluder said Friday that they will be joined in the starting lineup Sunday by junior guard Alexis Sevillian, freshman guard Kate Martin and sophomore post Monika Czinano.
Amanda Ollinger, a senior forward from Cedar Rapids who was slowed by a back ailment, won’t start, but “is available and ready to go,” Bluder said. “She’ll play significant minutes and won’t have any real restrictions.”
Bluder will use a rotation similar to the one she expects Thursday, when the Hawkeyes open the regular season against Florida Atlantic.
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Caitlin Riley, a freshman from Cedar Rapids Washington, is the lone Iowan on the Winona State roster.
“She played quite a few minutes in their first exhibition game (against Marquette),” Bluder said. “It’s always fun when the local kids come in.”
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