IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Iowa women’s basketball team plays at Rutgers this Tuesday. But before traveling to New Jersey on Monday, they spent their Sunday night in New York City.
They saw "Aladdin" on Broadway. They hung out in Times Square. Ally Disterhoft, who’s already got a job lined up with Barclays in NYC, showed teammates the building she’ll be working in next year.
It was a way to unwind, to bond, to step away from the game and relax as a bunch of friends in what was a new city for most of them, coach Lisa Bluder said.
Bluder hopes it might also help with her team’s road struggles. The Hawkeyes are 1-3 away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena this year, including ugly losses to Illinois and Penn State.
"I think when you have experiences off the floor, I think that helps you even bond more and I think it helps you grow together more," Bluder said. "And just kind of have fun together and relax together and enjoy each other’s company. It just makes you want to play for each other even more, so I definitely think there’s a competitive advantage, as well."
Rutgers, expected by most entering this season to finish near the bottom of conference, is 3-3 in the Big Ten, a half game above Iowa. Its three losses have all come on the road: at Michigan, at Illinois, at Nebraska.
Its three wins have all come at home: vs. Penn State (who beat Iowa), vs. Wisconsin and vs. Michigan State (who’d just upset Ohio State in its prior game).
It averages 63.7 points scored and 51.7 allowed at home in the Big Ten, opposed to 46.7 scored and 67.7 allowed on the road.
Sounds a bit like Iowa — a team with polar opposite selves at home and away from home.
"Rutgers has really turned things around since the Big Ten started," Bluder said. "Obviously, they’re undefeated at home in the Big Ten. So we know we’ve got a battle."
Junior guard Shrita Parker leads Rutgers with 10.7 points per game, and junior guard/forward combo Kandiss Barber is right behind with 10 a game.
Bain covers Hawkeyes' basketball for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
Iowa (11-7, 2-3) at Rutgers (6-13, 3-3)
When/where: 6 p.m., Louis Brown Athletic Center
TV: Big Ten Network Plus
About the game: Rutgers' three wins have all come at home: vs. Penn State (who beat Iowa), vs. Wisconsin and vs. Michigan State (who had just upset Ohio State in its prior game). It averages 63.7 points scored and 51.7 allowed at home in the Big Ten, opposed to 46.7 scored and 67.7 allowed on the road.