Nebraska makes it 6 straight against Iowa

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – The Iowa women’s basketball team has made huge strides in recent years under coach Lisa Bluder.

The Hawkeyes have advanced to six consecutive NCAA Tournaments and have hit at least 20 wins in five of the last six years.

But when it comes to playing rival Nebraska, the Iowa women just can’t seem to figure it out.

The Hawkeyes shot just 38 percent from the floor, got outrebounded 44-30, turned it over 19 times and were dominated in the paint during a 76-61 loss in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament on Friday at the Sears Centre.

“Congratulate Nebraska on a very strongly, well-played game,” Bluder said. “They are playing very well, and we wish them the best in the tournament.”

It was the third win over Iowa this season and the sixth straight win since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten Conference. Nebraska also beat Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals last year.

No. 21 Nebraska (23-7) is firmly into the NCAA tournament but will play again today when the second-seeded Huskers face No. 3 seeded Purdue. Iowa finishes its regular season 20-12 but feels really good about its chances at another berth into the Big Dance.

“Absolutely,” Bluder said when asked if she thought Iowa was a lock for the tournament. “We have 20 wins; we have a 30 RPI, we have a strength of schedule of 20. In my opinion we are not even a bubble team.”

The Hawkeyes went 0-3 this year against Nebraska and has not beaten the Huskers since they joined the Big Ten Conference last season. Iowa also has lost two straight by more than 15 points.

“Well, there’s no secret. We respect Iowa. We know they are a really good basketball team, got good players, well coached,” said Nebraska coach Connie Yori, who is a graduate of Ankeny High School. “You know, we have played a lot of close games with them. The last two have not been as close.

“You know, I don’t know if there’s any one thing I can identify other than, you know, we just know we have to play well. But you have to do that really throughout the season. It’s fairly unusual to beat a team six times in a row as good as Iowa. We obviously feel good about that.”

Theairra Taylor and Melissa Dixon were the two bright spots in the game for Iowa. Taylor scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists, while Dixon hit four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points.

Morgan Johnson was held to just eight points and five rebounds but she also had five blocks. She played in her 128th collegiate game, which is a new school record at Iowa.

Senior Jaime Printy also had an off night, scoring just four points. She did however move into third on the all-time scoring list at Iowa. Printy now has 1,822 points.

Iowa led 25-24 with 5 minutes to go until halftime.

Nebraska used a 9-0 run in the final minutes of the first half to take a commanding lead into halftime. The run eventually hit 13-0 as the Cornhuskers extended the lead to 38-24.

Jordan Hooper finished with a game-high 24 points and seven rebounds for Nebraska.

Nebraska’s semifinal game with Purdue will tip off at 4 p.m. today. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network.