IOWA CITY — It wasn’t just the result from Columbia, Mo., that caught Lisa Bluder’s eye Wednesday.
“I think (Northern Iowa) took like 40 3-pointers,” Bluder said.
Actually, it was 42.
“It was a crazy number,” she said.
UNI hit on 15 of those long-range attempts and knocked off Missouri, 78-73. That has the Panthers at 3-0 heading into their game with Iowa (2-0) Sunday. Tipoff is 2 p.m. at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls.
It’s the first intrastate game for both teams this season. And it’s the Hawkeyes’ first road trip of the season after bumpy home victories over Florida Atlantic and North Alabama.
“It will be a new experience for us, another learning opportunity for us,” Bluder said. “Obviously, UNI is off to a great start.
“We are going to definitely have to protect the ‘3.’”
UNI preceded the win at Missouri with triumphs over North Dakota State (at home) and Wichita State (away). The Panthers have never beaten Iowa in the McLeod Center, but they look poised to give the Hawkeyes problems, particularly if they are clicking from outside.
Karli Rucker, a junior from Eldridge, has hit 10 of 19 shots from long range and is averaging 20.3 points per game. And the return of Megan Maahs (13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds per game) has keyed UNI inside. Maahs missed last season with a knee injury.
Iowa’s offensive numbers have been good through two games, with one glaring exception — 21 turnovers per game. Monika Czinano has made 13 of 14 shots from the floor and is averaging 16.0 points per game.
The Hawkeyes are 22-2 all-time against UNI, with 12 straight wins.
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“You have to get used to playing in a different environment, different lights, different depth perception, staying in a hotel the night before,” Bluder said. “You have got to handle it like a business trip and know how to do those things.”
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