Iowa starting lineup not set in stone
A month into the season Lisa Bluder has settled on four of five spots in Iowa's starting lineup.
The fifth spot is still a question mark as Iowa prepares to face No. 7 Louisville (7-0) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Thursday.
Freshman Whitney Jennings and junior Kali Peschel have each took turns filling that fifth spot in the Hawkeye lineup.
Jennings has made four starts and Peschel three for the 6-1 Hawkeyes, and both players started a game in Iowa's 1-1 performance at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas last weekend.
Jennings has scored in double figures in five straight games, including a career-high 19 points off the bench in a win over Gonzaga.
The 5-foot-5 Jennings started the Hawkeyes' 77-67 loss to Arkansas in Friday's opener in Las Vegas.
Bluder went with the 6-foot-1 Peschel against Gonzaga in the Hawkeyes' second game after Iowa was out-rebounded by 27 by the Razorbacks.
"Have we settled into a for-sure starting lineup? I would not say that we are there, but Whitney has definitely shown that she needs to be on the floor for us a lot, whether she is in the starting lineup or coming off the bench," Bluder said.
Both players have been productive this season.
Peschel is averaging 6.9 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes per game while Jennings is averaging 10.9 points.
• ACC CHALLENGE: For the second straight season Iowa will face an ACC newcomer in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Last year Iowa defeated first-year ACC member Syracuse 97-91 in Iowa City.
The Hawkeyes are 14-8 all-time against the ACC and was 2-0 last year, including a 78-68 win over Boston College. Iowa is 2-5 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
• NO RERUNS: Ally Disterhoft admitted she watched the replay of last year's NCAA Tournament game with Louisville.
Her head coach elected not to.
Bluder said Tuesday she hadn't watched the tape of last year's season-ending 83-53 loss to the Cardinals, though assistant coach Jenni Fitzgerald had watch the film in preparation for Thursday's meeting.
"Jenni watched that one, I have not seen that one, but Jenni Fitzgerald did watch it," Bluder said. "It reminded ourselves of how physical they were, how good of a job they did on the boards, their transition offense is extremely effective," Bluder said.
• SCORING IN BUNCHES: Don't expect a defensive battle when Iowa and Louisville tip off.
Louisville ranks 10th in the nation in scoring at 86.7 points per game while Iowa is 12th, averaging 85.4 points per game.
The Cardinals are sixth nationally in field-goal percentage, shooting 49.2 percent from the floor.
Reach Ryan Murken at 339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.