Iowa women’s basketball backup continues to make an impact against No.17 Indiana

The junior followed up her career game against Ohio State with a solid defensive showing against Indiana.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa guard Tomi Taiwo shoots a free throw during a women’s basketball game between Iowa and Penn State at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions, 100-57.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s basketball junior Tomi Taiwo can sometimes fly under the radar, as her assignments and impact on the court do not always show up in the box score. 

Thursday’s game against Ohio State was an exception as she notched 13 points, two rebounds and a pair of assists. She played an impressive 25 minutes and put in a performance that nearly helped the Hawkeyes knock off the Buckeyes.

Sunday’s game against No. 17 Indiana showed that Taiwo has continued to make an impact in the Iowa rotation, as she played 16-and-a-half minutes in the 85-72 loss to Indiana. 

Although she only managed three points and three rebounds in the game, she continued to play solid defense and was a safe pair of hands on the court the team could lean on. 

“Offensively, I want to be more of a threat,” Taiwo said. “Right now I think defense is going pretty well but I think just helping my team out in other ways too, like getting assists and rebounding.”

Taiwo has the ability to become more of an offensive threat, shooting over 50 percent on the season. Her drive to the basket Sunday to draw the and-one showed her aggressiveness.

“I trust her shot, I think she’s got a good three ball, but she’s been attacking as well,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. 

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On a relatively young team, Taiwo brings bunches of experience from her three years as a Hawkeye. After featuring sparingly in the non-conference schedule, Taiwo has slowly managed to grab more minutes in Big Ten play. 

She has grown into becoming the first person off the bench for Iowa in recent weeks, getting 15 minutes against Purdue, 13 minutes against Minnesota, and 25 minutes against Ohio State.

Taiwo’s minutes on Sunday were the most out of any of Iowa’s bench players, with Sharon Goodman, Megan Meyer, and Logan Cook all coming off the bench to contribute. 

Iowa has not relied on its bench for most of the season, and tonight’s game was no exception. Taiwo’s three points off the bench were Iowa’s only bench points of the night. With Iowa’s starters averaging so many minutes each game, Taiwo’s steadiness is appreciated by her teammates. 

“She knows the plays and she knows the defense,” Clark said. “She’s a very steady player for us, she can shoot the ball, she plays defense and she brings experience, which is really good for us.”

Her difference off the bench was not enough today, as Iowa fell against a strong Indiana side. In a largely back and forth game, Indiana went on the last big run of the night to take a commanding lead in the fourth quarter. 

Clark put up 30 points while Czinano managed 16, while Warnock had a big night on the boards with 15 rebounds.

In the end, Iowa had some solid stretches on both sides of the ball were overshadowed by some poor defending and an inability to get to the foul line.

Taiwo and Iowa will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, for its next game on Wednesday against Nebraska. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and the game will be streamed on BTN+.