First and foremost, congrats to Lisa Bluder on her 700th win, which came during an 83-67 win over Quinnipiac on Friday night.
It was a special moment.
"Every game is just one game, but anytime you have a milestone win it gives you time to reflect and look back and see all those people,” Bluder said after the game to Hawkeye Sports. “I told the women in the locker room afterward that I've been able to coach a lot of great women, but this group is really special and I'm glad I got to share it with them."
Her career has been a tremendous one at Iowa and there’s reason to believe the next two seasons just might be some of her best. Quinnipiac and then-No. 16 Western Kentucky were both NCAA tournament teams last year.
Iowa beat the Hilltoppers 104-97 in overtime to win the the 2017 Hawkeye Challenge.
Junior Megan Gustafson scored her 1000th career point in that game, becoming just the 35th Hawkeye to reach that particular milestone. Her statline from that game? A career best 35 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks in 39 minutes.
Gustafson has been special for years, but this season she’s simply taking it to a whole other level. She’s the third leading scorer in the Big Ten (24.3 per game) and is also pulling down 14.3 boards per game, which ranks second in the conference.
For her efforts, she was named the Big Ten Player of the Week. Well deserved, Megan.
After averaging 25.5 points and 16 rebounds in two wins over the weekend Iowa's Megan Gustafson has been named Big Ten Player of the Week pic.twitter.com/7pVCtmOc9i— Iowa Women's BBall (@IowaWBB) November 13, 2017
She wasn’t done.
Tania Davis also had a double-double, notching 12 points and 10 rebounds. Chase Coley had 20 points and seven boards in what’s beginning to look like a solid senior campaign.
"It's more fun than when someone scores you walk it up and wait to play defense," Coley said to Hawkeye Sports. "It's fun to get out and run and push the ball in transition. This team is good at that, so it's fun. Especially when we can execute on both ends."
Next up on what’s shaping up to be a strong non-conference slate? Western Michigan, who comes into Carver-Hawkeye with a 2-1 record.
Volleyball tops tOSU, falls to No. 1 PSU
Iowa got off to a rough start last week, falling to top-ranked Penn State in three sets.
The Nittany Lions roughed the Hawkeyes up 25-10 in the first set and didn’t look back from there, taking the next two 25-17 and 25-12. Taylor Louis had eight kills and five digs to lead Iowa.
Head coach Bond Shymansky after the match to Hawkeye Sports:
"We did ok in the second set, but we did not get the effort required tonight. This is the time of the year where the great teams are starting to rise, and we have to be one of those teams. Penn State showed us why they are number one.”
Things got better a couple days later on Senior Day.
The Hawkeyes downed Ohio State 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23) in a hard fought and tight match. Louis was strong, notching 17 kills and 10 digs — her 22nd match of the season with double-digit kills.
The Hawkeyes send their seniors out of Carver on a high note with a 3-1 victory over Ohio State pic.twitter.com/5UWaJxm4hd— Iowa Volleyball (@IowaVolleyball) November 12, 2017
Things are getting interesting for the Hawkeye volleyball team. Iowa is currently sitting at 17-12 (6-10 B1G) on the year and have played one of the toughest schedules in Division-I.
As a reward?
Their RPI is currently ranked 48th in the nation. The NCAA volleyball tournament takes 64 teams. You do the math.
“This is the time of season where we really have to count on our teamwork, especially as we go on the road now for our last four matches,” Shymansky said to Hawkeye Sports after the win. “We are at Maryland, then at Ohio State, at Illinois, and at Nebraska, so the task gets taller for us, but we feel like we are one or two wins away now from getting in the NCAA tournament.”
Iowa’s already beat Ohio State, hasn’t played 16-12 (5-11 B1G) Maryland, and lost a close 3-2 match to Illinois earlier this season. Nebraska is ranked No. 5 and swept the Hawkeyes in Carver earlier this season.
If they can get a couple more wins, they’ll be able to do something they’ve only been able to do twice in program history — make an NCAA tournament.
Iowa’s been twice. First came during the 1989-90 season, when they lost to Ohio State in the first round. The second? A five-set loss to Pittsburgh in 1994.
Go make some history, ladies.
Cross country finishes season at NCAA Regional
Nathan Mylenek set an Iowa 10,000-meter record (29:53.2) and finished 32nd at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet as the Hawkeyes finished their season.
Andrea Shine led the women, finishing the 6,000-meter in 20:46.2, a personal record, to finish 20th.
The Hawkeye men finished 11th as a team while the women finished 12th. They will not advance to the NCAA finals.
Iowa head coach Randy Hasenbank’s post-meet thoughts to Hawkeye Sports:
"I was pleased with the progress that the women made from a year ago. We moved 17th to 12th in the team standings, but like the Big Ten meet, huge individual improvements, beginning with Andie Shine. She is an All-Region performer with her 20th place finish. She went from 90th last year to 20th today.
"The men had an average day. The guys were disappointed and we though we could be anywhere from 6th to 8th. Nate led us again and had a very solid performance finished 32nd.”
On to track and field, ladies and gents.
P.S. — We’ll have a bit more on that season in the coming weeks. Get excited.