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Iowa women trounced by No. 7 Louisville

BY KYLE MANN | DECEMBER 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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The No. 22 Iowa women’s basketball team went on the road to challenge No. 7 Lousiville in search of an early season signature win. To put it mildly, that quest didn’t turn out very well.

There were concerns entering the game that the Hawkeyes would have a difficult time matching up with the Cardinals, because despite how Lisa Bluder’s 6-1 Hawkeyes have played at times so far, they’ve left much to be desired rebounding and defensively, particularly when facing physical opponents.

Iowa entered the night 10th in the Big Ten with a rebounding differential of minus-1.6, averaging only 38.7 rebounds per game while surrendering more than 40. Louisville, on the other hand, came in as the No. 30 team in the country with a plus-9.4 rebounding margin; the Cardinals corral nearly 42 per game.

With that said, the Hawkeyes knew they would have their hands full. What they likely didn’t anticipate, however, was how ineffective Louisville would deem their volatile up-tempo offense. Facing a relatively unfavorable matchup, when it became apparent that the Hawks’ shots weren’t falling, things got out of control quickly.

The game started very slowly, with neither team hitting on many of its shots in the opening minutes. For the Hawkeyes, that was not a good sign for such an offense-oriented team.

The Cardinals were the first to find their groove, and after several minutes of two-sided stagnation, they jumped out to a 10-4 lead near the 15-minute mark. For the next significant portion of the half, it became very one-sided.

Shortly after the Cardinals started rolling, they led 16-9 and were converting on 53 percent of their shots, compared with just 26.7 percent for the Hawkeyes. They strung together a 12-0 run to go up 26-9 before a Bluder time-out with eight minutes to go.

But the damage had been done. Louisville took its double-digit lead and ran with it. Iowa trailed by roughly 15 for most of the half and stumbled enough to trail by 23, 46-23, heading into the break.

Bluder’s team was in rare form in the second half — flat, perhaps discouraged, but most startlingly, still not making shots.

The Hawkeyes could never dig into Louisville’s mountainous advantage, trailing by 24 five minutes into the half. Unable to gain any ground, it only started to get worse. Louisville held a 60-35 advantage at the 12-minute mark and by 7:26 had extended that to 78-40.

With the game in blowout territory, Louisville largely called off the dogs and easily cruised to an 86-52 victory.

The Cardinals’ rebounding advantage ended up being only 50-38, but the game was lost by the lack of points from Bluder’s offense. The Hawkeyes shot a shocking 30.4 percent from the floor and were nearly 40 percent below their season average from behind the arc, making only 1-of-17 attempts, 5.9 percent.

Furthermore, the team collectively had only 7 assists, significantly down from its season average of 17.

Bethany Doolittle led the Hawkeyes in both scoring and rebounding, posting 12 points and 9 boards.

Follow @KyleFMann for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s basketball team.


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