Iowa women’s basketball faces quick turnaround to prepare for Nebraska in Big Ten Tournament Semifinals

The second-seeded Hawkeyes have less than a day to prepare for the sixth-seeded Cornhuskers. Nebraska stunned No. 3 seed Michigan on Friday night to advance to the conference semifinals.


Gabby Drees

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark shoots the ball during a basketball game between No. 2 Iowa and No. 7 Northwestern during the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN, on Friday, March 4, 2022. Clark earned 19 points. The Hawkeyes beat the Wildcats, 72-59.

Dawson Moore, Sports Reporter

INDIANAPOLIS — Iowa women’s basketball can’t change the fundamental nature of its play during the Big Ten Tournament. But neither can the rest of the conference.

Second-seeded Iowa will face sixth-seeded Nebraska in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday.

With less than one day between games, Iowa will have to adjust on the fly to prepare for Nebraska.

“You know, at this time of the year, I don’t really think people can really change a lot, you know, you just can’t,” head coach Lisa Bluder said following Iowa’s win over Northwestern Friday. “So, it’s not like anybody’s going to have all these new plays or anything, and I think it’s just going out and executing. Who can recover tonight quickly, who can, you know, get that rest and eat and mentally get ready. It becomes a mental game as well as a physical game as you go on in this tournament.” 

The second-seeded Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats, 72-59, on Friday night in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals. 

Nebraska is coming off one of its biggest wins of the season, as it upset third-seeded Michigan in the final seconds of the quarterfinal round, 76-73.

The Cornhuskers have proved to be a legitimate threat, with three wins over Associated Press Top 10 Teams in the 2021-22 season.

“Our mentality coming into this tournament is that we expect to win,” Nebraska head coach Amy Williams said following Nebraska’s victory over Michigan. “We’ve been really visualizing what it’ll be like to cut down nets and be Big Ten Champions. We’ve been talking about that, and you just have to take it one game at a time, but our mentality is to survive and advance.”

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Iowa played Nebraska twice this season over the course of a week. The Hawkeyes won at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, 95-86, on Jan. 9, and reigned victorious in the rematch, 93-83, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 16.

Hawkeye sophomore Caitlin Clark finished with 31 points in both contests, including a triple-double in Iowa’s most recent matchup against Nebraska.

Bluder said the Hawkeyes will have to reacquaint themselves with the Cornhuskers. Iowa watched the first half of Nebraska’s victory over Michigan on Friday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse before heading back to the team hotel.

“Nebraska, we played them earlier in the year, and we played in kind of back-to-back games,” Bluder said.”It was right at the beginning of the year, so it’s not as much in our players minds, so our players need to watch this game, and then we’ll go back and get ready for the scout.”

Iowa will take on Nebraska on Saturday at 5 p.m at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The game will also be aired on Big Ten Network.

The winner of Iowa-Nebraska will face the victor of top-seeded Ohio State and fifth-seeded Indiana on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Big Ten Championship Game. That will be aired on ESPN2.