Home is where the in-state rivals find their victories.
Ten of the last 11 meetings between the Iowa and Iowa State women's basketball teams have been won by the hometown squad, which tonight will be the Hawkeyes in a 7:30 p.m. contest televised by the Big Ten Network.
Helping Iowa State's case looks to be senior post Chelsea Poppens, who is listed on the Cyclones' probable starters for tonight's game. Poppens hasn't played in the team's last two games after suffering a concussion against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 23.
ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said during his weekly press conference that Poppens "is continuing to get better" and that it's a "day-to-day thing," but did not know what her availability would be. Poppens had not yet been cleared for contact and had not practiced.
Nevertheless, the Cyclones have gotten off to a 5-0 start for the sixth time under Fennelly. The other four starters in the ISU lineup are averaging in double figures, led by junior forward Hallie Christofferson's 15.2 points and seven rebounds per outing. Senior center Anna Prins is putting up 11.4 points per game, while sophomore guards Brynn Williamson (11.2) and Nikki Moody (10.0) have done the job as well in helping the team average 73.4 points per game thus far.
"They have so many people shooting the ball really well, it's hard to pick anybody to help guard them," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "We know it's going to be an intense, emotional game. We are glad to have had some time to prepare for this game."
Iowa (6-3) will turn to its home-court advantage in front of a 'Blackout' crowd as well as senior center Morgan Johnson to get the Hawkeyes to victory. Johnson is averaging 18.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game to pace Iowa.
Jaime Printy has chipped in 12.7 points per game coming back from knee surgery for a Hawkeye squad averaging 67.7 points but allowing 61.4 points per game.
"Iowa's team is similar every year, they're very good at what they do and they're very well coached," said Fennelly. "Their seniors are doing what you'd expect them to do and they've got good balance in other spots. They're very smart and very well prepared, and they've played a really good schedule."
The two men's teams will meet on the same court on Friday night at 7 p.m. It, too, will be televised by the Big Ten Network.