Foul trouble brings out full Hawkeye rotation


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The shrill sound of a referee’s whistle rang frequently in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Sunday afternoon. 

There were 46 fouls called during the Iowa women’s basketball’s 78-40 victory over Stony Brook — a direct result of the rule changes this season regarding what constitutes a foul. The Hawkeyes were able to use frequent rotations and a strong performance from freshman Ally Disterhoft, who scored a game-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, to win the game. 

“This is one of those games we were waiting for as far as the change in the officiating,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We were kind of dreading it, and it came to fruition tonight.” 

The rule changes regard hand placement. Keeping a hand or forearm or two hands on an opponent is now considered a foul, along with a player jabbing an arm as a way to prevent driving the lane.

Bluder worried after the game about the consistency of the refereeing, not only in today’s game but over the course of the season. 

“Maybe they called the right way tonight, but it was totally different from the first three games of the year,” she said. “… I think that’s difficult for the players to adjust game by game to officials, adjust to the tempo of the game.”

Strong bench play is integral every night of the college basketball season, but it becomes even more so when two starters and one of their backups are riding the bench in foul trouble near the end of the first half, and Disterhoft stepped up to the challenge. She grabbed 7 rebounds, six of which were on the offensive end of the floor, to go along with her scoring performance. 

“My teammates did a great job of driving and finding me when I was open,” Disterhoft said. “That’s really important to have a group of girls who are so unselfish.” 

Guard Theairra Taylor also took advantage of the foul situations on the way to being the second leading scorer for Iowa with 14 points and 6 rebounds. 

“It’s been an emphasis since we started,” she said. “We just told them, ‘You know how they’re going to call it, don’t get upset when you do it. Just keep your hands off [the opponent] as best you can.’ ”

Foul troubles continued in the second half, with Bethany Doolittle and backup center Claire Till having four fouls each with more than 12 minutes remaining in the game. It led to a heavy rotation that included contributions from walk-on center Hailey Schneden, who played in both halves of the game. 

“Sitting on the bench for a long period of time like Bethany had to do tonight and then come back in the game, it’s hard sometimes to refocus and do that,” Bluder said. “… It’s just something that we’re going to have to adjust to, and it doesn’t make the game perfect by any means.”

The large number of fouls drew boos from the crowd. Bluder could be seen by the bench holding out both arms in disbelief at some of the calls. All but two players of the 23 players who logged time in the game registered at least one foul. 

Despite the game’s slow pace and the foul trouble, the Hawkeyes were able to beat the Seawolves by 38 points. And for Bluder, she’s happy the situation occurred before the team players tougher Big Ten competition. 

“I am glad that we had a game like this before it happened in a pressure situation,” she said.”  So I think it will help us in case we are facing this type of officiating again on Wednesday night.  Now we’re better suited or better equipped for it.”

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