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Iowa women's hoops loses again at Hilton

BY MATT COZZI | DECEMBER 08, 2011 7:20 AM

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The streak continues.

The Iowa women's basketball team lost to Iowa State on Wednesday night in Hilton Coliseum, 62-54. Iowa (5-4) hasn't won in Ames since 1989.

Head coach Lisa Bluder's squad struggled in numerous categories on Wednesday. Most notably, though, were the Hawkeyes' shooting — both from the field and from the free-throw line — and turnovers.

Iowa turned over the ball 22 times and shot just 29.6 percent from the field. The Hawkeyes were 16-of-22 from the charity stripe.

"I think we're missing way too many easy shots," Bluder said in a radio interview. "When we miss easy shots, it takes away our confidence. Again, turnovers hurt your confidence as well. We just have to trust in the system and believe it will work.

"Right now, that's not happening."

Iowa State's numbers didn't quite stand out on the stat sheet after the game, either — although the Cyclones' (5-2) ability to create points off turnovers, with 21, was a big reason for the victory.

So was shutting down Morgan Johnson in the second half.

The junior center led all scorers with 16 points, but she tallied just 4 in the final 20 minutes. Johnson was 5-of-10 from the field in the game.

"They identified [Johnson] early," Iowa assistant coach Shannon Gage said in a radio interview. "Morgan had a great stat line, but we struggled in the paint. That's one thing we need to focus more on this year — getting the ball inside. We have to get high-percentage shots."

Iowa was down 16-9 in the first half when it began a long string of points that eventually became a 16-4 run — a run that included points from a technical foul on Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly and a flagrant foul by the Cyclones' Chelsea Poppens.

Iowa State's two fouls and offensive struggles shifted the momentum in Iowa's favor, but the Cyclones stormed back.

The team trailed, 27-20, with about two minutes left in the first half, but went into the break on a 6-0 run thanks to back-to-back field goals from Hallie Christofferson.

Iowa State found another burst in the second half, and the Cardinal and Gold took the lead early; at one point after Fennelly's technical, they had outscored the Hawkeyes 21-6.

Iowa State guard Lauren Mansfield said Fennelly's energy on the bench gave the team the boost it needed. Mansfield led her team with 15 points.

"When he gets up like that, I think we all really feel like he's fighting for us," Mansfield said in a postgame television interview. "… We really fed off that."

With both teams tied at 30, the Cyclones went on a 7-0 run that built into an 11-point lead midway through the second half.

They never looked back.

Iowa's Jaime Printy came into Wednesday averaging 19 points per game, but went 3-of-9 from the field for 9 points. Both she and Johnson also fouled out near the end of the contest.

One bright spot for the Hawkeyes was freshman guard Melissa Dixon, who provided a spark off the bench. The Johnsburg, Ill., native scored 11 points.

Iowa has a quick turnaround following the loss. Next up is Western Illinois on Friday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"We could really use a boost on Friday," Bluder said. "I know Hawk fans are probably questioning us right now — and that's fine — but hopefully, they'll come out and stay with us through thick and thin."

Follow DI Assistant Sports Editor Matt Cozzi on Twitter.


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