By Jordan Zuniga
The Iowa women’s basketball team is having a stellar season; its win on Sunday improved its record to 21-6, and it is soaring on a five-game winning streak.
The Hawkeyes seem to be catching fire at just the right moment, because the postseason is just down the hall, and their 88-61 rout of Wisconsin just put more lighter fluid on their momentum.
Yet Sunday’s win was more than just a regular basketball game for the Hawkeyes, and that meant something to both the players and coaches.
For some teams, a pink-out may just seem like not too much more than another promotion to attract fans and a time to bring out some snazzy new sneakers.
But Lisa Bluder and the Bunch understood the meaning of the pink-out and took it to heart.
“The pink game is more than just wearing pink shoes,” Bluder said after the game. “It means something to our team. Each of them [the players] has a name on the back of her shooting shirt that recognizes someone who means something for us.”
Besides the names on the backs of their warm-up shirts, they also were announced alongside six survivors who received thunderous applause from the crowd.
There was certainly a little extra noise when announcing the lineup Sunday afternoon, and that noise translated into success on the court as Iowa made quick work of Wisconsin.
A 10-point lead after the first quarter quickly gave way to a 45-23 halftime lead, giving the Badgers almost no hope.
It was the enthusiasm from the crowd that was composed of nearly 7,500 fans and the deeper meaning behind the game that helped propel the Hawkeyes’ fast start and subsequent dominant performance.
“Like coach said, we played for something bigger than ourselves today,” Alexis Sevillian said. “That gave us a little extra drive. I think that gave us more confidence for tonight.”
Of course, for those familiar with the program, seeing this team take a game this seriously is akin to seeing a Megan Gustafson double-double.
For many of the players under Bluder, they jump at any opportunity to use their standing as college basketball players for something bigger than themselves.
That selfless attitude starts before the ref throws the ball up for the first tip-off of the season.
Since 2006, the Hawkeyes have participated in Habitat for Humanities Women Build before the start of the season.
This year, the Hawkeyes helped build a house. While building a house provides a great team-building exercise, it also is a way for the Hawkeyes to give back to the community.
“I think it’s important if you’re on a team or not,” Carley Mohns told Hawkeye Sports. “You get to give back to the community and give back to people that really need it.”
With their nature of putting others before themselves, its no wonder this same team is has the second most assists in the nation.
Iowa’s next game will be played in its normal black and gold sneakers, in Piscataway, New Jersey, as it takes on Rutgers at 6 p.m. Wednesday.