Hawks will feel sting of loss for a while


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For the Iowa women’s basketball team, the bite of March 7’s semifinal loss to Ohio State won’t soon fade.

A team that looked poised to cap off a historic 2015 season with its first Big Ten title in 14 years instead went home early and empty-handed.

A group of seniors that so boldly willed the Black and Gold to victory night in and night out for four seasons will graduate without a single conference championship to show for it, and while a looming NCAA Tournament run could provide one last shot at redemption, the loss will leave a bitter taste of defeat won’t soon subside.

For captain Sam Logic, that sting was twice as harsh. The senior and All-American point guard was forced to watch her team lose from the bench in overtime after fouling out in the final minute of regulation.

“It’s going to sting for a while,” she said. “At that moment, I still thought we were going to win, and I still think we could win. We were right there the whole time.”

With a not quite two weeks until the tournament begins, the Hawks will have plenty of time to stew over the loss and try to piece together what exactly went wrong.

And as painful as it is, head coach Lisa Bluder and her team know March is no time for self-pity.

Beaten but far from broken, the Hawkeyes will try to use the loss as extra motivation to galvanize themselves for the upcoming championship run.

“We have to get back to figuring out why it happened the last two nights,” Bluder said. “Because it obviously hurts you in tight games, in overtime games … So we just let the pace of the game overtake us, I think, a little bit at that point.”

A Big Ten title may not have been in the cards for this year’s Hawkeye squad, but the Hawks as currently constructed still have the capability to do some serious damage once the brackets are set.

It’s how they learn from a crushing defeat like the one they had this past weekend that will define how the team performs in two weeks.

Even in defeat, the Hawkeyes’ talent and ability still commands the respect of every school they face.

“They’re one of the best offensive teams I’ve played against in terms of execution and having players fit the style of play they have,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “Iowa’s really an outstanding basketball team.”

The Hawkeyes were their usual offensive juggernaut against the Bucks; however, they continued their struggle at shutting down physical, skilled post players such as Ohio State’s Alexa Hart.

It’s an issue that reared its head earlier in the season against Minnesota and sophomore stud Amanda Zahui B. and one the Hawks have yet to fully correct. 

Hart’s play, plus an uncharacteristically high number of Iowa turnovers doomed them in the semifinals, and while there’s more than a few small tweaks to correct, it’s not a bad place to start.

“In the second half especially, we didn’t box out well enough,” Bluder said. “That had 10 offensive rebounds the second half. That and the turnover really did us in.”

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