Miscues doom Hawks in road loss to Sparty

EAST LANSING, Mich. – If the Iowa women are looking for a spot in Thursday night’s game against Michigan State that decided the outcome, the Hawkeyes won’t have to look further than the final three minutes.

The Hawkeyes were down just two points with 3:30 to play but turned it over on four of their next five possessions and the Spartans took full advantage in a 65-54 victory at the Breslin Center.

“We turned the ball over and gave them some easy points,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “When you do that and not shoot the ball well, you have to do something else really well and we didn’t.”

Iowa has not won at the Breslin Center since 2004 and it dropped to 13-5 overall and 2-2 in league play after the loss.

“Michigan State played great defensively and their phyiscal play wore us down,” Bluder said. “It was amazing that only 10 fouls were called on them in this game. And that affected us because we started to complain about the calls.”

The game was tied eight times, including at the half, and there were 13 lead changes. It was a very competitive game up until the final three minutes. Iowa’s biggest lead was six points early in the first half, and the Spartans’ largest lead before the final three minutes was just six points, too.

The Hawkeyes shot just 35 percent from the floor and made just 2-of-14 from 3-point range. The Iowa bench was outscored 16-7 (all seven points were scored by Melissa Dixon), got out-rebounded 32-26 and the Spartans converted the Hawkeyes’ 14 turnovers into 22 points.

Morgan Johnson recorded her 18th career double-double and sixth of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Jaime Printy finished with 11 points but was only 3-of-16 from the floor. Bethany Doolittle was the other Hawkeye in double figures as she finished with 10.

Michigan State was led by Klarissa Bell’s 25 points and nine boards, while Annalise Pickrel was the only other Spartan in double-digits with 10.

Iowa led by five early in the first half until Kayla Timmerman was called with a flagrant foul inside when she got tangled up with Akyah Taylor.

Bluder wanted a double foul on the play but instead the Spartans were given two shots plus the ball and they quickly turned the five-point deficit into a one-point lead.

A similar play happened in the second half with Iowa’s Sam Logic. She was elbowed across the face and stayed down for a few minutes. Jasmine Hines was issued the flagrant foul but not until after the Spartans went down and scored on the other end.

The basket was allowed, Logic only hit one free throw and the Hawkeyes then turned it over during their offensive possession.

There were three technical fouls called in the game as the contest featured plenty of physical play but only 24 fouls as the officials let them play.

“The physical style of play favors Michigan State, but it’s Big Ten basketball and we need to work through it,” Bluder said. “A lot of our issues are between our ears. We have to get our confidence back.”

Iowa next plays at home Sunday against No. 12 Purdue (14-2) at 3 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.