Iowa women's basketball drops third game of season to Florida State


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No matter what Leonor Rodriguez did, Iowa couldn’t find a solution.

The senior Florida State guard couldn’t be stopped, playing to the tune of 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists throughout 39 minutes of playing time. Rodriguez led Florida State (6-0) to an 83-69 win over Iowa (5-3) on Wednesday night.

“Rodriguez is an outstanding player. She’s very, very hard to defend, and she plays within her role,” Iowa head basketball coach Lisa Bluder said. “She’s a solid basketball player that’s hard to guard.”

Rodriguez’s play wasn’t the only problem for Iowa, which has now lost two of its last three games. The Hawkeyes, led in scoring by senior Morgan Johnson’s 20 points, made the game much harder on themselves during the second half.

Iowa uncharacteristically turned the ball over 24 times — 13 in the latter half, compared with Florida State’s 5 — which led to 28 Seminole points. Sophomore Sam Logic led the Hawks in the dubious category with 10 turnovers.

That stat outshone her 7 assists as well as her 14 points. She tallied only 4 of her points in the second half, and Bluder said her low output in the last 20 minutes was a direct result of turning the ball over.
“We had to adjust our ball-handling [because of the Florida State defense],” Logic said. “And we didn’t do that enough. Me specifically.”

Many of the turnovers came after the Seminoles switched to a more intense zone. Bluder said it shocked her team a little bit early on in the second half, and made it difficult for Iowa to make runs to the rim.

The Seminnoles used that to their advantage and slowly added to their lead. Their zone defense also helped keep Iowa away from the free-throw line — Iowa made just nine trips to the line and made seven free throws, after taking 50 charity shots against West Virginia on Nov. 25.

The more intense look from Florida State made it difficult for Iowa on the offensive end. Johnson said this resulted in the many mistakes during the second half.

“The pace was definitely up-tempo tonight,” she said. “That always forces us to make some mistakes, some turnovers here and there, that we wouldn’t normally make … They did a good job pushing the tempo.”

There did come a moment of hope for Iowa when Johnson led a fast break — yes, the 6-5 senior center was in front of a breakaway — from half court for a lay-up to bring the Hawkeyes within 5 at 66-61 with just 4:46 left in the second half.

But Rodriguez came back and answered. She dished a clean pass to Natasha Howard in the paint for an easy bucket on the subsequent Seminole possession. Rodriguez then struck again with a 2-point jumper for the Seminoles on their next offensive look.

That shot effectively put an end to Iowa’s chance at a comeback. The Hawks scored only 8 points from then to the end of the game.

“Give Florida State credit,” Bluder said. “You can’t give up 50 points [in one half] to a good team on the road and expect to win.”

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