Knock On Wood: Hawkeyes Hope To Extend Streak Against Badgers

By John Bohnenkamp

Iowa’s women’s basketball team has a 24-game winning streak over Wisconsin.

Knock on wood, coach Lisa Bluder said on Wednesday’s video conference, the Hawkeyes extend that in Thursday’s game. And then she promptly knocked on the wooden cabinet in her office.

Superstitions aside, the Hawkeyes would like to get a win, if only to get back the momentum after Monday’s emotional 92-88 loss to Ohio State that snapped Iowa’s seven-game winning streak.

The Hawkeyes were seething about no-calls and missed calls after the defeat, and Bluder said watching the video from the game after didn’t help.

“I get more emotional about some of the calls that were not called and, and some of the results of that,” Bluder said. “I guess where I get more emotional again is just seeing the play and seeing the lack of the whistle being blown when I think it should have been blown. Now, that’s my opinion, and I’m not a paid official so I don’t get paid to make those decisions. But that’s what, I guess, gets me more frustrated and disappointed than anything when I watched that film.”

Not that there’s much, if anything, Bluder can do about it. There’s no sense complaining to the Big Ten office, she said, but she will point things out to officials after the fact.

“No, I don’t take it up at the conference office because they kind of wipe their hands of it,” she said. “But you do send them in to the officials, and what lots of times you’ll send in clips, and they’ll respond every single time to every single clip, so I’ll give them credit for that. And they’ll tell you when they feel it’s an incorrect call or when it was a correct call. So they’re very transparent in that and that’s great. But when it’s an incorrect call, and they follow up with a crew, what good does that really do? They use it for education, and for teaching, but it doesn’t help the team at all.”

The best thing the Hawkeyes can do, Bluder said, is just move on.

“It is over and you can’t you can’t dwell on it,” she said. “Otherwise it’ll beat you down, right? Like, you know, if you feel like you’re lost, or maybe you didn’t get the call you thought you deserved, I mean, if you keep thinking about it over and over and over again, it’s like, wow, that can really get to you. So I do think you have to let it go.

“But you always want to learn from losses, and I think there’s things that we could learn that we could have done better. And so I definitely want to take those examples and learn from them.”

Iowa (14-5 overall, 8-2 Big Ten) can’t afford a stumble against the Badgers (5-15, 2-8). The Hawkeyes are in third place in the conference, 1 ½ games out of the lead but only a half-game ahead of Ohio State. And with Sunday’s game at conference leader Michigan looming, Iowa has to keep pace with the rest of the top of the Big Ten.

So that’s why Bluder felt the need to knock on wood. Streaks, after all, are made to be broken.

“It scares me,” Bluder said. “So I don’t like those numbers. Well, I like those numbers, but I know how mad that makes Wisconsin. Then you worry about what this game — them being a little more fired up than us to play because we have Michigan coming up and yeah, we beat him 24 straight times. And so you worry about the mentality of your players going into a game like that.”

Photo: Iowa’s Gabbie Marshall comes up with a steal in Monday’s game against Ohio State. (Stephen Mally/hawkeyesports.com)

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