Hawkeyes can’t overcome shooting woes, fall to Boilermakers

Iowa\’s struggles on both sides of the ball were the difference in its loss to the Purdue.

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The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder reacts to a call during an Iowa/Purdue women’s basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. The Boilermakers defeated the Hawkeyes, 76-70. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Sean Bock, [email protected]

All season the Hawkeyes have prided themselves on their prolific offense.

Against Purdue on Jan. 13 in Carver-Hawkeye, though, the shots weren’t falling, and Iowa couldn’t find a way to prevail, falling to the Boilermakers,76-70.

The Hawkeyes held a 2-point lead with 6:40 to go in the third quarter, but Purdue was able to steer the ship for the remainder of the game and hold on for the victory.

Iowa shot a respectable 46 percent from the field but had a hard time capitalizing on their 3-point opportunities, finishing 3-of-16 (19 percent) from behind the arc.

While the Hawkeyes couldn’t find any consistency from 3-point range, Megan Gustafson went off for a career-high 37 points along with 14 rebounds — her NCAA-leading 17th double-double of the season. The Boilermakers didn’t have an answer down low for Gustafson, but her performance didn’t seem to matter, considering Iowa couldn’t hit anything from the perimeter.

“Megan played great, but we need to get more people involved than her,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It can’t just be the Megan show, and to me, it looked like we were standing around and waiting for her to do all the work.”

“It makes it really hard when nobody is hitting from the outside,” Bluder said. “We can’t open things up for Megan, so that was a tough scenario.”

For the Boilermakers, senior guard Andreona Keys had herself a night, exploding for a team-high 34 points and 4-of-5 from 3-point land. She headed into the game with seven 3s on the season and was able to take advantage of Iowa’s lackluster perimeter defense.

“They did a triangle and two on us, so the rest of us were open,” Keys said. “Since I was open, I shot the ball a lot today. The coaches were on me to shoot the ball, and I did and got into a flow. I just tried to take my shots and tried to get other people involved, and they knocked down shots, too.”

Purdue center Nora Kiesler was given the assignment of slowing the potent Iowa frontcourt. Though Gustafson put up big numbers, the 6-6 Kiesler’s length and presence frustrated the Iowa bigs.

The Hawkeyes (15-3, 3-2 Big Ten), who have dropped two of their last three, will travel to Lincoln — one of the toughest venues in the Big Ten — on Jan. 16 to go head-to-head with Nebraska.

“The most important thing for us is to stay optimistic,” Gustafson said. “Even though our defense wasn’t there tonight doesn’t mean it can’t be there for the rest of the week and heading into these two road games. Get back at it, practicing tomorrow, and just keeping that focus.”

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