Slow first half dooms Iowa women’s basketball against No. 11 Ohio State

The Hawkeyes fell to the Buckeyes for the second time on Thursday, 92-87, for its fifth loss of the season.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark drives to the rim during a women’s basketball game between Iowa and Minnesota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Gophers, 92-79.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa women’s basketball team was unable to avenge its loss earlier in the season to No.11 Ohio State on Thursday night, falling to the Buckeyes, 92-87, at Value City Arena in Columbus.

The Hawkeyes – who fall to 10-5 on the season and 6-5 in Big Ten play – went into Columbus on a mission after their overtime loss to Ohio State (11-2, 6-2) on Jan. 13, one that ended their 42-game home win streak in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

But after a stagnant second quarter scoring only 14 points, the Hawkeyes were swept in a season by the Buckeyes for the first time since 2008.

Iowa was plagued by a slow first half, going into halftime down 11 points, 41-30. Although Iowa outscored Ohio State in both the third and fourth quarters, 27-22 and 30-29, respectively, it wasn’t enough to overtake Ohio State.

“We won the third and the fourth quarter in terms of points,” freshman point guard Caitlin Clark said. “But I think, again, in the second quarter, transition defense was the problem for us. They seemed to get out and get layups.”

Clark led the Hawkeyes with 30 points, and with nine assists, came one assist away from her sixth double-double of the season. Clark fouled out with 13 seconds left in the game, collecting all of her fouls within a two-minute span.

The Hawkeyes also ran into foul trouble early in the game, with junior center Monika Czinano picking up her second foul with four minutes left in the first half. Sophomore guard Kate Martin also picked up two fouls in the first half and ended up fouling out with six minutes left in the game.

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“When you pick up those early fouls, it makes you just a little more timid on defense,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “And you cannot be timid on defense.”

But the Hawkeyes foul trouble opened the door for junior guard Tomi Taiwo to get significant minutes against the Buckeyes. Taiwo played a season-high 25 minutes on Thursday night, and registered a career-high 13 points.

“I thought Tomi went in and really gave us a spark,” Bluder said. “She was able to find the gaps and be able to drive and find the rim. I’m really happy with Tomi’s play, and hopefully she’ll keep getting to play and keep getting better.”

But for Taiwo, the increase in minutes doesn’t matter if the Hawkeyes don’t get the win.

“It’s nice that the coaches trusted me to be out there, but obviously getting the win is the most important thing, whoever’s on the court,” Taiwo said. “We’ll just take this as a good lesson for Indiana on Sunday, and tweak whatever we can to get the win at home.”

Iowa has a slate of ranked matchups coming up, with No. 17 Indiana coming to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

And Bluder said it’s just a matter of time before the Hawkeyes get a top-25 win.

“I’m proud of the fight,” Bluder said. “We fought until the end, and I’m proud of our team for that. We’re so close on so many of these top-25 games and we just can’t get over the hump, but hopefully we will soon.”