The stage is set for another intriguing in-state showdown between Iowa and Iowa State.
Before Iowa could turn its attention to Thursday's annual meeting with Iowa State, the Hawkeyes had to wash away the bitter taste left by an 86-52 loss at seventh-ranked Louisville.
The Hawkeyes did that with a 78-63 win over Colorado on Sunday.
"We always kind of get up for the Iowa State game but especially having a win like that under our belt going into it is very helpful," senior Bethany Doolittle said of the Colorado win. "I think it just gives us energy and lets us focus on what's important now."
Sandwiched between the 34-point loss to Louisville and the annual Cy-Hawk Series showdown, Sunday's meeting with then-6-1 Colorado had all the makings of a trap game.
The Hawkeyes didn't take the bait.
Iowa improved to 9-1 in its last 10 games following a loss dating back to last season and avoided losing back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 5 of last season.
The Hawkeyes are 2-0 this year following losses and have outscored teams by an average of 13.5 points in those two wins.
"You can just tell a lot about a team in how they respond after a loss, especially bad losses or big losses," sophomore Ally Disterhoft said. "We don't get hung up on the losses but we definitely learn from them. I think after our loss against Arkansas and Louisville we learned a lot about ourselves."
•ALL IS FORGOTTEN: Bluder said Tuesday the terse post-game moments brought on by the closing minutes of last year's contest weren't something she hadn't thought about since last year.
Iowa State removed its starters late in last year's contest while Iowa continued its full-court pressure, eventually prompting Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly to reinsert his starting five.
"I think every coach has the opportunity to do whatever they want in order to win during that 40 minutes," Bluder said Tuesday. "I've gone against coaches that have a 40-point lead and will press until the last final second because that is the message that they want to send and they never want their players to have a back off mentality."
•CLOSE TO 100%: Bluder quelled any concerns for Iowa fans about Samantha Logic's knee on Tuesday, saying the senior point guard would definitely play against the Cyclones on Thursday.
The question is how close to 100 percent will Logic be after suffering a sprained MCL in her left knee against Louisville?
"Sam is better every day. Will she be 100 percent on Thursday? Not sure. There is a lot of healing time still between now and Iowa State but the girl is doing great."
•HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: The home team has won 12 of the last 13 matchups between Iowa State and Iowa, including each of the last seven.
Iowa State won 83-70 in Ames last year while Iowa won the last meeting in Iowa City 50-42 in 2012.
"I think both teams are so proud of their environment. They are proud of playing on their home court and they want to defend their home court and that has just been the way it's been the last several years," Bluder said.
•EVENING THE SCORE: The seniors on Iowa's roster are 1-2 against Iowa State.
Thursday gives the senior group of Doolittle, Logic, Melissa Dixon and Kathryn Reynolds a final chance to even the score with their in-state rivals.
"It's our last chance to get a win against Iowa State and we are really looking forward to that," Dixon said. "We are excited to be playing them at home this year, we know it's going to be a competitive game and we are ready for that."
•BALL CONTROL: Iowa State leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.97) entering Thursday's game. The Cyclones have notched single-digit turnovers in its last four straight games, the first four-game stretch with less than 10 turnovers under head coach Bill Fennelly.
Reach Ryan Murken at 339-7369 or email@example.com.