Two times in Nebraska women’s basketball history, the Huskers have won six consecutive conference games. Monday night, Nebraska will have a shot to be the third team in the program’s history to complete the feat as it heads to Iowa City, Iowa, to take on the Hawkeyes at 7:30 p.m.
Nebraska is currently riding a five-game win streak, dating back to an 84-63 win over Minnesota on the road on Jan. 20. Most recently, the Huskers picked up a sloppy 55-50 win at Northwestern last Thursday. While the win was not pretty, Nebraska coach Connie Yori said she will take a win however it comes.
In order to become the third team in Nebraska women’s history to capture at least six consecutive conference wins, the Huskers will most importantly need to match the size Iowa brings to the court Monday evening. Senior Morgan Johnson, a 6-foot-5-inch center for the Hawkeyes will lead the charge for the 16-8 Iowa squad, which averages 15 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game. Other than Johnson, four players exceed the 6-foot mark for Iowa, including starter Bethany Doolittle, a 6-foot-4-inch sophomore center.
Even though Iowa’s size towers over Nebraska, Yori said it won’t be a new experience for the Huskers.
“We’ve seen a lot of big teams, but Iowa definitely has good size,” Yori said “They’re a team that is going to mix defense and that’s what we do, too. So we’re going to have to be prepared to see a few different things and we’re going to have to give them some different looks.”
While Nebraska has won five straight contests, Iowa has dropped its last three. Even after losing to an unranked Minnesota squad, Iowa senior guard Jaime Printy sees Monday night’s matchup as a fresh start to turn around the season.
“The season is definitely not over,” she said. “But we’ve got to start doing something now. We have three great opportunities next week, so we have to come out strong.”
Iowa’s last three losses have been to unranked Illinois, Northwestern and Minnesota, but the Hawkeyes proved they can still grab big wins this season with victories over Purdue and Michigan.
This back-and-forth season for Iowa doesn’t surprise Yori. It’s just a result of playing in the Big Ten, she said.
“It’s just the balance in our league,” Yori said. “You’re looking at very good teams across the board, and there’s just not a lot of weakness. So Iowa is very capable of beating good teams.”
So far this season, Iowa has recorded a 5-5 Big Ten record, placing the Hawkeyes seventh in the conference. Five spots up the ladder, Nebraska sits in a tie with Purdue for second and holds a 7-3 conference record.
Because No. 13 Purdue lost 67-56 Sunday night to Michigan, a win over Iowa would give the Huskers an outright second place spot in the standings.