Iowa looking to avoid first 3-game losing skid since 2013

Ryan Murken
Iowa's Ally Disterhoft celebrates a Whitney Jennings 3-pointer during the Hawkeyes' game against Rutgers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.

Ally Disterhoft had a hard time remembering the last time she had been a part of back-to-back losses prior to last week.

When asked to come up with the last time she was a member of a team that lost three straight games, Disterhoft admitted she was drawing a complete blank.

That makes sense, considering Disterhoft hasn’t been a part of a three-game losing skid in her three seasons at Iowa.

If the junior has her way it won’t be happening anytime soon.

Iowa (12-4, 2-2 Big Ten) will try to avoid losing three straight games for the first time since 2013 when it travels to Wisconsin (6-8, 2-2) on Wednesday.

“We were talking as a team and a lot of us couldn’t remember the last time we had lost two games in a row, even in high school,” Disterhoft said. “We aren’t going to let that happen again, we are going to do our best to go out there, play a complete game and hopefully that will lead to the win.”

Hawkeyes seek bounce-back win amidst tough stretch

After losing back-to-back games for just the second time in the past three seasons there is perhaps no other opponent Iowa would rather see than Wisconsin.

Iowa has won 15 straight over the Badgers, including seven straight wins in Madison.

The last win for the Badgers in the series came back in February of 2007.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve lost at Wisconsin, or lost to Wisconsin in general,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “We want to keep that going.”

While recent history and current statistics say Iowa is in fine position to avoid its first three-game losing skid in 94 games, the Hawkeyes don’t expect anything easy on Wednesday.

Wisconsin has won three of its last five games after a 3-6 start to the season and is coming off a 20-point home win over Penn State on Sunday.

“They are playing well, I felt like they’ve gotten better and better,” Bluder said. “I saw them earlier in the year and I feel like they have gotten better and better as the year has gone on, without a doubt.”

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Wisconsin ranks 13th in the Big Ten in scoring at 66.7 points per game but has been better offensively of late, eclipsing the 70-point mark three times in its last five games.

Three-point shooting has been at the heart of the Badgers’ offensive resurgence.

Wisconsin ranks second in the conference beyond the arc, shooting 39 percent this season. In Big Ten games the Badgers are shooting a league-leading 46 percent from 3.

That number was bolstered by a 12-of-18 performance from 3-point range in their 82-62 win over Penn State on Sunday.

“They are shooting the 3-ball excellent in conference play and that is an area that you kind of didn’t know about at the beginning of the year,” Bluder said. “They are really shooting the ball well and that’s something that concerns us.”

In order to avoid a three-game losing skid Iowa will need to rev up its own offense after scoring a season-low 56 points against Maryland on Sunday.

Despite the recent rough stretch, Disterhoft said there is no lack of confidence for Iowa, especially playing a team that they have enjoyed success over in the past.

“We have been able to play well against Wisconsin in the past and there is no reason why that shouldn’t continue,” Disterhoft said. “I think you have to go in with that confident mindset that even though we are coming off of two losses we know we are a good team. We know we have good things going and it is really just about putting it together and playing a complete game.”

Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or rmurken@press-citizen.,com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.

Iowa (12-4, 2-2) at Wisconsin (6-8, 2-2)

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.  

Where: Kohl Center, Madison, Wis.

Stat leaders: Iowa — Ally Disterhoft 16.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg; Alexa Kastanek 12.4 ppg, 2.5 apg.  Wisconsin — Nicole Bauman 15.1 ppg, 3.8 apg; Michala Johnson 10.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg.

What to watch: Three-point shooting could play a key role on Wednesday as Wisconsin tries to snap Iowa’s 15-game winning streak in the series.

Wisconsin is shooting 46 percent from 3-point range in conference play and has made one more triple than Iowa in four conference games in 16 few attempts.

Five players have at least 12 3-pointers for the Badgers this season, and those five have accounted for all 86 Wisconsin 3-pointers.

Nicole Bauman leads the 3-point attack with 35 on the season, while Des Moines East graduate Roichelle Marble is shooting a team-high 52 percent (12-of-23) from beyond the arc. 

Wednesday will be the first meeting for Iowa freshman and Port Wing, Wis., native Megan Gustafson with her home-state squad.