Iowa looks to avenge early-season loss to Ohio State

The Hawkeyes held Minneosota to 68 points last Sunday. Now, Iowa hopes to bring the same defensive energy to Columbus.


Casey Stone

Iowa Guard/Forward McKenna Warnock and a Northwestern player tip off the ball at the start of the Iowa Women’s Basketball game against Northwestern on Jan. 28, 2021 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Northwestern defeated Iowa 87-80.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

It’s no secret that Iowa women’s basketball has leaned on its offensive prowess this season. The Hawkeyes impressively rank second in the Big Ten in scoring.

Flawless offensive performances have helped Iowa notch some impressive wins against the likes of Purdue, Rutgers, and Iowa State.

Unfortunately for head coach Lisa Bluder, her Hawkeyes currently rank 13th in the Big Ten in total defense, allowing just under 80 points per game. Iowa’s defense has cost it wins over ranked teams like No. 22 Northwestern and No. 11 Ohio State.

However, the Hawkeyes did demonstrate the ability to play well on the defensive end of the floor last Sunday in their 94-68 dismantling of Minnesota.

Iowa forced the Golden Gophers to shoot just under 40 percent from the floor and about 30 percent from downtown.

The Hawkeye defense also baited Minnesota into 17 turnovers, four of which were produced by Kate Martin via steal.

Tonight, the Hawkeyes will have a chance to avenge their Jan. 13 loss to Ohio State. But, defeating the Buckeyes will be a much taller order than beating Minnesota, as Ohio State currently has five players averaging double-figure scoring this season.

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“We can’t use what we did against Minnesota against Ohio State because they have so many different weapons,” Bluder said. “It’s a totally different defensive team you have to use from one team to another, and that’s why you have time to make adjustments in between each game.”

Watching film and adjusting to Ohio State’s offensive is only half the defensive equation, according Martin.

“We do watch a lot of film on their offense, but we want to just move hard,” Martin said. “We have to work on a lot of screens, they set a lot of ball screens and a lot of back screens and just a lot of motion in their offense, so we just want to work on moving before the pass, moving to our players and good closeouts.”

Iowa may look at Ohio State’s most recent game against Northwestern as a sign that the Buckeyes can be stopped, as the Wildcats held the Buckeyes to just 57 points. Ohio State only shot 28.6 percent from the floor in that game.

The first time the two teams met, Iowa did a decent job slowing the Buckeyes’ offense. Ohio State, however, shot the ball 12 more times than Iowa did in that game, as the Hawkeyes turned the ball over a whopping 12 times.

“Their press caused us some problems at the end of the game, so looking back watching the film, we’ll be ready to go,” freshman point guard Caitlin Clark said.

Ohio State will also have an important piece back in Dorka Juhasz, who was not available the first time the two teams played. Iowa’s bigs will have to be ready to deal with her ability to rebound and make plays on the interior.

Iowa’s game at Ohio State tips off at 6 p.m. and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

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