December 2013

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Women's Hoops on a Roll By Patrick Sojka T he University of Iowa women's basketball team is on a roll. The Hawkeyes enter the month of December on a four-game winning streak (the second-longest in the Big Ten), with an overall mark of 8-1. Iowa is off to its best start in three seasons, when it began the 2010-11 campaign with a 12-1 record. Iowa was rewarded for its efforts by the national media, cracking The Associated Press Top 25 poll on Dec. 2 for the first time since January. After receiving votes in every week prior to December, the Hawkeyes entered the rankings at 25th. Connecticut is the only team in the top 25 poll with more victories (nine) than the Hawkeyes. Following a three-point loss at No. 16 Colorado on Nov. 20, the Hawkeyes won at Northern Iowa, 6760, on Nov. 20. Iowa then traveled to the Cancun Challenge and finished 3-0, defeating Southern California (78-65), Boston College (78-68), and UNCWilmington (102-65). "On paper we were better and should have won this game, but that doesn't always happen in the third game in three days," said UI head coach Lisa Bluder following the final game in Mexico. "I was happy with our focus and I thought our energy was strong." During the Cancun Challenge finale, junior guard Melissa Dixon placed her name among Iowa women's hoops royalty by sinking seven 3-point field goals. Dixon's long-range precision matches an Iowa game record also held by Lindsey Meder, Kamille Wahlin, and Jaime Printy. Dixon finished with a career-high 32 points and was named MVP of the Mayan Division; junior Samantha Logic was also named to the AllTournament team. "Our defense did a great job of getting stops and we pushed in transition. I was open a lot in transition so I had a lot of open looks," said Dixon, named to the Big Ten Player of the Week honor roll for her efforts. She averaged 23.5 points per game during the tournament. "I have to credit my teammates, they were amazing. They found me when I was open." "It is huge for us getting three quality wins here and playing pretty well as a team," said Samantha Logic following Iowa's win over UNC-Wilmington, in which it scored the fourth-most points in a single game in program history. "That is really important; as we get closer to the conference season, we want to be firing on all cylinders. We had 30 assists; that is exactly how we want to play." Iowa is second in the Big Ten in scoring average (81.4) and leads the league in assists (19.1 per game). "We played well all three games," said Dixon. "It was a fun tournament against good competition. This will carry forward for the rest of the season." Iowa hosts No. 22 Syracuse on Dec. 5 in the Big Ten/ ACC Challenge. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "We are playing well right now," said Logic. "We faced some good opponents (in Mexico). Now we have to be ready to take on Syracuse. We are excited to be back in Carver-Hawkeye Arena." Following the Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup, Iowa hosts Idaho State (Dec. 7) before traveling to rival Iowa State for the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series contest on Dec. 12. The Hawkeyes conclude the month with home matchups against in-state foe Drake (Dec. 21) and North Dakota (Dec. 28), prior to starting league play in January. 17

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