After a strong start to the season, the Iowa women’s basketball team has struggled as of late, dropping three of its last four games.
The skid started with an 80-64 loss to No. 14 Maryland, continued with an 76-70 defeat at home to Purdue and a 74-65 setback at Nebraska. The Hawkeyes only win in that span was an 84-71 win over Illinois in Champaign.
“We have to get our confidence back shooting the ball; that’s the fun part about basketball and that’s the fun part about practicing: going into the gym by yourself and imagining yourself in these pressure situations,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder told HawkeyeSports after the loss to Nebraska. “To me, that’s the most enjoyable part of the game. We need to get that back, we need to get in the gym and get that confidence back as a shooting team, because we are a great shooting team.”
Megan Gustafson has continued to be the best player on the court and tied a single-season record last week as she was named Co-Big Ten player of the week for the sixth time this season. She shares that honor with Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender, who set the record during the 2010-11 season.
She's done it again! @GustafsonMeg10 has now tied a Big Ten record with her 6⃣th Player of the Week Award of the season.— Iowa Women's BBall (@IowaWBB) January 15, 2018
She has been honored by the conference (POW or Honor Roll) for straight weeks! #Hawkeyes #FightForIowa pic.twitter.com/0fS2ua4bKE
Gustafson is averaging an astounding 23.8 points and 12.9 rebounds a game. She’s shooting 68.2 percent from the field and 82.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Pretty, pretty good.
Injuries to Tania Davis and Makenzie Meyer certainly haven’t helped Iowa’s cause. Davis is gone for the season with another ACL injury, while Meyer was shelved on Dec. 27 with a broken hand.
Meyer can’t come back soon enough. Despite missing six games, she is still second on the team in assists with 65. Davis is third with 62.
In their absence, Kathleen Doyle has picked up the slack and is averaging over 33 minutes a game. In the loss to Nebraska, she played all 40. That’s a lot to ask of a true sophomore.
The Hawkeyes are still ranked No. 20 in the AP poll, but they could very well drop out after this week. They’ll have a chance for their next win on Sunday at Minnesota.