Iowa women’s basketball drops third home game of season to No. 17 Indiana

The Hawkeyes lost to the Hoosiers, 85-72, as the team’s youth showed.


Kate Heston

Lisa Bluder, head coach of the women’s basketball team at Iowa, talks to the team during a time out at the game between Iowa and Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 9,2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones in a close game, 82-80.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa women’s basketball team showed its youth on Sunday as it fell to No.17 Indiana, 85-72, for the Hawkeyes sixth loss of the season.

Iowa now sits at 10-6 on the season and 6-6 in Big Ten play, falling to eighth in the conference standings.

Coming into the new year, Iowa held a 42-game home win streak, the second-longest in the country in women’s basketball. After the Hawkeyes lost for the first time in two-and-a-half years at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 13 to No. 11 Ohio State, the Hawkeyes have dropped three of their past four home games.

“It seems like there’s something different all the time,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It’s like a hole in a boat. You put your finger in to plug one hole, and another one pops up somewhere else, and another problem arises. So, we’ve got to continue to get to fundamental basketball.”

Bluder’s team features four underclassmen on the starting lineup – sophomores McKenna Warnock, Kate Martin, and Gabbie Marshall, and freshman Caitlin Clark. Junior center Monika Czinano was the only returning starter for Iowa for the 2020-21 season.

It’s been hard for the newcomers to pull themselves out of the hole during the rough stretch.

“It is a long season for freshmen, they aren’t used to it,” Bluder said. “And it’s even longer when you’re losing, right? When you’re winning, you have a bounce in your step, a little bit more energy, a little more joy, but when you’re losing you have to manufacture those things for yourself, and you can’t expect freshmen to do that as well as veteran players.”

Iowa tied the game at 58 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Indiana went on a 12-2 run through the last minutes of the game as Iowa became frantic to keep up with Indiana.

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“I think [being tied] is more frustrating than the losing part,” freshman point guard Caitlin Clark said. “These games are tied. These games are so winnable for us.”

But with youth, eventually comes impatience for Bluder’s team.

“One of our keys with Indiana, is that we thought we would have to be patient with the ball,” Bluder said. “We would have to be patient, reverse the ball, cut hard, and I think we got away from that in the fourth quarter.

“We kind of played at the eight-minute mark like it was the last one minute of the game and we were down, instead of being down four, six points with eight minutes left to go. And that’s just something we have to understand.”

Sunday’s 13-point loss was the largest margin the Hawkeyes dropped to a ranked team so far this season. In both of Iowa’s losses against ranked Ohio State this season, Iowa lost by a combined seven points.

“It’s definitely frustrating, because we know how good we are and can be,” junior guard Tomi Taiwo said. “We’re right there with those top-25 teams. This was our biggest margin of losing, but we’re usually within five, three, two points of those other teams.”

After two losses in a row to No. 13 Ohio State and No. 17 Indiana, Iowa has a break from ranked teams as it takes on Nebraska in Lincoln at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday and the game will be streamed on BTN+.