By John Bohnenkamp
Lisa Bluder has learned a lot about the uncertainty of schedules this season.
The Iowa women’s basketball coach saw another game postponed, when Sunday’s home game against No. 6 Indiana was postponed because of COVID-19 issues with the Hoosiers.
It’s the sixth game the Hawkeyes have lost this season. They had three games canceled in November because of COVID-19 issues within their program, then had Big Ten games against Penn State and Illinois postponed and rescheduled.
It’s why Bluder said on Wednesday she knows not to be certain about a game until just hours before.
“Until I know they’re in the parking lot for sure, you know, for home games,” Bluder said. “And, I would hope nobody would let us get on a flight to go somewhere if they thought that (a postponement) was going to be a possibility. So up until the day before I am not (sure a game will be played). I mean, I had heard that we are going to be on for Indiana on Sunday, even when they canceled their Wednesday night game against Michigan State so no, not until the day before am I certain.”
Bluder said she expected a large crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for Sunday’s game. Now, she’s not so sure how a rescheduled game will fit into the schedule.
“I just don’t know how it’s going to be made up,” she said. “There’s just no time in the schedule to make up a lot of these games. So that’s pretty disappointing.”
The Hawkeyes (10-4 overall, 4-1 Big Ten) have won four of their last five games, and got back into the Associated Press poll at No. 25 this week. They play at Minnesota on Thursday, but getting a chance to face the conference-leading Hoosiers (14-2, 6-0) was something they were looking forward to this weekend.
“I think I’ve kind of been getting used to this type of thing,” guard Caitlin Clark said. “Not used to it but, like, I don’t get as upset anymore. Obviously, it’s kind of out of our control, not something we can control. I think we have been playing well, and we get a top-10 team on our home floor on a Sunday. I mean, it was definitely something we were looking forward to — obviously we look forward to every game — but I mean, getting that opportunity would have been wonderful.”
Bluder would like to find a game for the weekend, but even that’s going to be hard to do on short notice.
If the Hawkeyes can’t play, they’ll either practice or find an off day during the weekend, since they’ll play three games in seven days beginning with Tuesday’s rescheduled game against Penn State.
“We have a lot of Big Ten games coming up in the next week as well,” Clark said. “So it’s not like we’re gonna have a very long break.”
“There is a point during February, I think, we have four games within eight days,” Bluder said. “I mean, there’s no rest for the weary during that time. So that’s why I would like to try to avoid some of that congestion with this week.”
Bluder said the Hawkeyes have been resilient with all of the changes.
“You don’t think about it,” Bluder said. “Like, if you start thinking about it, you’re worried about the wrong thing. And so we just really focus on the game (at Minnesota).
“But I think it’s one of those things that’s out of your control, so you don’t worry about it. You got to move on. Just they have to trust that we’re doing our best to try to schedule these opponents so that we have an opportunity to have a good resumé for the NCAA Tournament committee.”
Photo: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark looks for an opening in Northwestern’s defense in a home game earlier this month. (Stephen Mally/hawkeyesports.com)