Iowa seeking perfection at Carver-Hawkeye Arena
As team oriented as any coach out there, Lisa Bluder isn't usually one to emphasize statistics or records.
When it comes to the mark for single-season wins at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the Iowa coach made an exception.
No. 17 Iowa (21-6, 12-4 Big Ten) is a perfect 14-0 at home this season and needs a pair of wins to close out the regular season to claim the program record for home wins in a season.
The Hawkeyes can take the first step toward that record and a perfect regular season at home when they host Wisconsin (8-18, 4-12) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"Oh, we want it," Bluder said of the record for home wins in a season. "We definitely want it. We are trying very hard to take one game at time and understand that if we don't beat Wisconsin it's not as exciting for Sunday."
Records are rarely a focus for Bluder's squad but the Hawkeyes couldn't contain themselves when it came to chasing the 15-0 mark established by the 1992-93 team.
Iowa would match the record set by the 1992-93 Hawkeyes with a win over Wisconsin and could break the mark with a win in Sunday's regular-season finale against Minnesota.
First, the Hawkeyes need to complete the season sweep of Wisconsin after winning the first game 87-75 on Feb. 8
"Being able to have the opportunity to set a record for home-game wins going into these next couple of games, obviously that is in the back of our minds," senior center Bethany Doolittle said. "We just have to take one game at a time and those accomplishments will come with the wins."
For now Iowa is focused on a Wisconsin team that is mired in a five-game losing streak that began with the loss to Iowa in Madison.
All five of the Badgers' losses during that stretch have come to teams currently in the top seven of the Big Ten standings, including a three-point overtime loss to No. 25 Northwestern on Sunday.
"Wisconsin is a good team," Bluder said. "That's a team that battled Maryland well and it took overtime for Northwestern to get out of there with a win. This is a very good basketball team."
A return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena comes at a good time for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes dropped back-to-back road games last week, falling at Minnesota and Ohio State, the first consecutive losses for Iowa in more than a year.
Iowa went 3-2 during a five-game, two-week span in which the Hawkeyes played four of five games away from home.
Now, Iowa gets a chance to put a record-setting end on its season.
"We'd like to do that for our fans," Logic said of the record. "We like playing here, we love being at home, we love winning for our fans and they help us with that so it would be something special to end our career on but we are taking it one game at one."
Iowa has finished perfect at home four times in program history, most recently in the 1995-96 season.
Only the 1992-93 team won more than 14 games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
These Hawkeyes will try to best that by one.
"Nobody has ever done that before, not even the team that went to the Final Four, they finished 15-0, we could have the possibility to finish 16-0," Bluder said. "It's another opportunity for our women to put their name on another record."
Iowa hopes to add to its number of home wins in the postseason.
Two wins this week could help Iowa secure a spot as an NCAA Tournament host and give the Hawkeyes a chance at more Carver-Hawkeye Arena wins.
For now, the focus is on Wisconsin.
"We are hoping that we get to come back here but this is for certain the last time we will be here in Carver," Bluder said. "We want to take advantage of that."
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.
Wisconsin (8-18, 4-12) at No. 17 Iowa (21-6, 12-4 Big Ten)
• Specifics — 7 p.m. Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
• Following the game — TV: BTN Plus. Radio: KXIC (800 AM), WMT (AM 600), WHO (1040 AM) Hawkeye Radio Network. Live scoring: www.hawkeyesports.com.
• Preview — Iowa lost back-to-back games for the first time in more than a year on Saturday when it allowed a season-high 100 points in road setback at Ohio State. The Hawkeyes will try to get back on track at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where they are 14-0 this season.