Hawkeyes and Terrapins set for high-scoring clash in College Park

Iowa’s matchup with Maryland kicks off a busy two-week stretch for the Hawkeyes.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa guard Tomi Taiwo goes for a layup during a women’s basketball game against Purdue on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers 87-81.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

A week ago, the Iowa women’s basketball schedule looked much different than it does now. At the time, the Hawkeyes’ next four games were reasonably spread out.

Last Thursday, the UI announced that the Hawkeyes would be adding Maryland to their schedule in an effort to make up the game the teams postponed on Jan. 21 because of Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Now, Iowa is slated to play this Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday with two more games to follow next week.

“Sunday, we had an off day, so coach recommended that we stay off our feet and do as well as we can to stay in bed and relax both mentally and physically because it is going to be a long 10-day stretch of basketball,” junior guard Tomi Taiwo said at a Monday meeting with reporters.

With the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments quickly approaching, Iowa’s upcoming stretch of five games could help the Hawkeyes prepare for the fast turnaround they will face in March.

Iowa has not relied on its bench much this year, but that could change as fatigue sets in over the next 10 days.

“We’ve been going about nine-deep, and that’s what we’ll continue to go,” head coach Lisa Bluder said.

While the Hawkeyes’ physical conditioning will be put to the test over the next two weeks, so too will their mental edge.

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“It’s about having mental focus for the game ahead of you, it’s not thinking we play Michigan Thursday, and we play Wisconsin Sunday,” Taiwo said. “It’s focusing on one game at a time and taking the scout very seriously as we’re going to have only one practice to prepare for Michigan.”

The first game of the Hawkeyes’ brutal 10-day stretch will perhaps be the most challenging of all.

Maryland is currently ranked eighth in the AP Top 25 Poll, and the Terrapins have only lost once this season — a two-point defeat against Ohio State in Columbus.

Tuesday’s game figures be an extremely high-scoring affair, as Maryland and Iowa boast not only the two best offenses in the Big Ten, but the two highest-scoring offenses in all of women’s college basketball. On average this season, Iowa has scored an impressive 87.9 points per game, while Maryland has put up an impressive 92.4 points per contest.

The Terrapins do not rely on just one or two scorers, but their entire rotation. Every player in Maryland’s starting lineup averages double figures in scoring, presenting a major challenge for Iowa.

“They’re obviously very balanced, all of them can score, their four will step out and shoot the three, so that always presents a challenge no matter what,” freshman point guard Caitlin Clark said. “I think it’ll come down to who is going to do something else that separates themselves, whether that’s defense, taking care of the ball and things like that.”

Tipoff between Iowa and Maryland is scheduled for 12 p.m. Tuesday. The game will be aired on the Big Ten Network.

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