Iowa focused on NCAA Tournament after blowout Big Ten loss

A crushing loss to Ohio State may cost Iowa home-court advantage in the NCAA Tournament.


Katina Zentz

Iowa guard Makenzie Meyer shoots the ball during the Iowa vs. Ohio State Women’s Big Ten Tournament game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Friday, March 6, 2020. The Buckeyes defeated the Hawkeyes 87-66.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

There is never a good time to take a blowout loss during a season, but the timing of Iowa’s blowout defeat at the hands of Ohio State was not ideal.

The Hawkeyes were soundly beaten 87-66, making it the first time the team has lost back-to-back games this season. Now, Iowa must wait over a week for its NCAA Tournament fate, with hopes of home-court advantage in the first two rounds looking bleaker.

However, Iowa must live in the present with the NCAA Tournament. It’s a chance to bounce back after a disappointing Big Tens performance.

“Now that we have that experience under our belt, I can tell you we definitely don’t want to feel this way again so we’re going to hit it hard the next couple of weeks,” senior Kathleen Doyle said.

Moving on mentally from a game such as this could be the biggest challenge for the team. Head coach Lisa Bluder wants the team to keep the confidence and swagger the team has had all season long. With no chance to play competitively between now and the tournament, she wants the team to mostly forget about tonight.

“As far as coaches, we want to learn from it, but as far as kids, I don’t know that they’re going to really get much out of this game as far as rehashing it and watching it over and over again except for destroy their confidence,” Bluder said. “I don’t want to do that going into postseason.”

The Hawkeyes were unlucky in going up against an Ohio State team who shot the ball incredibly well. The Buckeyes shot an impressive 60 percent from the floor in the first three quarters while also going over 50 percent from deep in the same timeframe. Defensively, Iowa will need to improve in order to achieve its postseason goals.

After beating Ohio State handily on its home floor, there were several differences that made this one much harder on Iowa this time out.

“They really beat us off the dribble in the first go around, and then also they got us around the basket,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “Guarding the ball and our post defense were both significantly better than the first time we played them in Iowa City.”

This one anomaly of a game should not take away from what has been another great season of Iowa women’s basketball.

Wins over several ranked opponents and another unbeaten season at home are several things the team hopes the NCAA Tournament Committee looks at when considering seeding for the tournament.

“Twenty-nine games leading up to this had us hosting, so is one game going to knock us out?’ Bluder said.

The NCAA Women’s basketball tournament selection show will take place March 16 at 6 p.m.

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