Iowa downs Ohio State, 65-61


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Coming into the Iowa women’s basketball’s matchup with Ohio State, the Hawkeyes had their sights set on finishing out the regular season strong.

With their 65-61 win over Ohio State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, they completed part one of that goal. In doing so, they keep the possibility of earning a fourth seed and a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament alive.

“Good victory for us,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “… Good for our program. We withheld when they went up 7, and we kept the faith. We picked up our defense and forced 21 turnovers, which got us some fast-break points.”

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The second matchup between these two Big Ten schools more or less played out in Ohio State’s style of play — slow and physical.

When the Iowa offense did get going, it was through its defense.

“[Our defense] kind of gets us hyped on the offensive end,” Bethany Doolittle said. “It pushes us in transition and lets us get easy baskets in transition, and our team feeds off those tips really well.”

All game, Iowa thrived on creating Ohio State turnovers, then capitalizing on those turnovers with easy points. In the end, Iowa scored 19 points on 21 Ohio State turnovers.

Most of these were a result of Iowa’s 2-3 zone on defense, which in the second half ramped up, creating turnovers on tipped passes at will.

“[Bluder] just wanted us to be more aggressive,” Theairra Taylor said. “We were out there just standing around, kind of like zombies, and they weren’t expecting us to shoot the passing lanes.”

Other than the disparity in team turnovers, both teams were evenly matched throughout the game. Both struggled from the free-throw line, Iowa won the rebounding battle, by 1 rebound, and Iowa scored more points in the paint, but they won that battle by just 2.  

Fittingly, leading the charge for Iowa was their lone senior Theairra Taylor — who following the game was given a senior night ceremony.

Taylor finished with 21 points and filled in other aspects of the stat sheet in a way that teammate Sam Logic typically does. Taylor also corralled 7 boards and dished out 4 assists.

Iowa’s focus now moves to Illinois, which they face to close the regular season. Illinois has a 2-12 Big Ten record, but the game has much more importance than that record may project.

With a win, Iowa would at least guarantee a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten — the tiebreaker would go to Purdue.

But the Boilermakers close out their season against No. 16 Nebraska. With a Purdue loss and an Iowa win, the Hawkeyes would get that Big Ten Tournament first-round bye that they’ve emphasized so heavily in the backend of this season.

“That’s the last thing we talked about in the halftime huddle, enjoy the journey, enjoy the experience, have fun with it, because we want this season to last as long as possible, we want to enjoy every moment we’re out on the floor,” Bluder said. “We’re going to take that attitude into Illinois as well.”

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