stewart mug

Hannah Stewart

Brian Ray hawkeyesports.com

IOWA CITY — Lisa Bluder is certain about one thing as Iowa’s 18th-rated women’s basketball team prepares to host Purdue today.

The Boilermakers will force the Hawkeyes to earn anything they get in the 3 p.m. game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"They defend as well as anybody in our league," Bluder said.

Purdue limited 21st-ranked Rutgers to 10 first-half points and 26.8-percent shooting for the game in an eye-opening 47-33 win Wednesday at Mackey Arena.

It was the second time in four games this season a Big Ten offense has been unable to muster 40 points against the Boilermakers, who lead the conference in scoring defense in league play at 49.5 points while limiting foes to 59.5 points on the season.

"Purdue really prides itself in its defense," Iowa forward Hannah Stewart said. "They might not always get it going on offense — they average like 65 points per game — but they pride themselves on getting stops."

In Wednesday’s win, the Boilermakers held the Scarlet Knights 36 points below their season average.

They coaxed Rutgers into settling for outside jump shots and that worked in Purdue’s favor. Coach C. Vivian Stringer’s team missed its first 14 shots from 3-point range and was successful on just 1-of-20 attempts in the game.

"They really hang their hat on what they get done on the defensive end of the floor," Bluder said. "They guard really well out of their man-to-man look and do a good job of helping each other as needed. They’re very disciplined defensively, and it shows."

Purdue limited Iowa to a season-low 52 points in a 20-point victory at Mackey Arena a year ago in the only meeting between the teams.

"It will be a challenge for us," guard Alexis Sevillian said. "We’re glad to be playing at home and hope to keep building off the Illinois win."

The Boilermakers have helped themselves to a 10-7 start to the season by also forcing opponents into an average of just under 17 turnovers per game.

"We’ve been kind of prone to that, so we’re going to try to not let them force us into turnovers," Stewart said. "We’re working on that every day."

Iowa (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) has had a mid-week bye on its schedule this week, giving Bluder a chance to give her team Tuesday and Thursday off.

With just nine players expected to be uniform again today, the extra rest has proven beneficial.

"It’s been good to get a chance to catch our breath a bit," guard Kathleen Doyle said. "We’re off to a good start in the Big Ten and a little time this week to recharge is probably a good thing for us."

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