No. 8 Nittany Lions prove too much for Hawkeye women in fifth straight loss


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It hasn’t been the Hawkeyes’ month. 

A year removed from a perfect February, the Iowa women’s basketball team has yet to win a game this month. 

After defeating five teams ranked in the AP polls, the Hawkeyes (16-10, 5-7 Big Ten) were looking for an upset over the 8th-ranked team in the nation Thursday night, but the Nittany Lions (21-3, 11-1 Big Ten) proved too much to handle and handed the Hawkeyes their fifth-straight loss and first against a ranked team, 81-69. 

“Anytime you lose a game, it’s tough,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “When you lose five in a row, it’s really tough.”

Penn State’s Maggie Lucas led all scorers with 21 points. Iowa’s Morgan Johnson led the team in points with 17 and added 11 rebounds, her ninth double-double of the season. Sophomore Melissa Dixon added 16 points off the bench before fouling out. 

Senior guard Jaime Printy struggled from the field. Iowa’s leading scorer didn’t make a single field goal, earning her 2 points from the charity stripe. 

“She got rattled out there tonight,” Bluder said. 

The Hawkeyes fell behind quickly in the second half after only trailing by one possession at the end of the first half. 

Both teams got off to sluggish starts before Bethany Doolittle got things rolling for the Hawkeyes after two scoreless minutes. Penn State’s leading scorer Maggie Lucas then responded with a 3 for the Nittany Lions at the 17:10 mark in the first half, and it remained close for the remainder of the frame, leading to a 37-34 deficit for the Hawks. 

The second half was a different story. The Hawkeyes struggled shooting against Penn State’s person-to-person defense, shooting only 41 percent in the second leg, going 12-of-29. Iowa also struggled with rebounding on both ends of the floor, giving the Nittany Lions 14 points on second-chance opportunities. They also struggled from the line, making 7-of-13 in the second half, 11-of-19 for the game.

Bluder praised the performances of her post players after the game. Johnson is now tied with Shanda Berry for sixth in career double-doubles at Iowa. Sophomore Bethany Doolittle also had a strong outing for the Hawkeyes, scoring 13 points and grabbing six rebounds. 

“Their posts are very capable of making shots, outside shots,” Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said. “If you get caught in the lane helping on Printy and Logic when they drive, they kick out, and Doolittle and Johnson are very capable of making those 15-foot shots.” 

Penn State worked hard to pull away from the Hawkeyes in the second half. The Nittany Lions opened the half on a big run, and the Hawkeyes could never counter. After trailing by 3 at the half, the Hawkeyes scored only 6 points in the first 8 minutes of the second frame, while the Nittany Lions scored 14. The Lady Lions took advantage of the poor shooting and never let up, scoring 44 second half points. The Hawkeyes also struggled in transition, giving up eight points off of fast breaks. 

Five-game losing streak or not, the Hawkeyes are going to remain positive going into their next two games, road matches against No. 18 Purdue on Feb. 17 and a rematch against Nebraska on Feb. 24. 

“It’s a long season,” Johnson said. “We have to understand that each game is important, and understand that we’re still a good team, that we’re still that good team that played early in the season.”

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