Defense lets down Iowa in loss to Hoosiers

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – There was nothing wrong with Iowa’s offense Thursday night. It was the defense though that let down the 22nd-ranked Hawkeye women’s basketball team in its first Big Ten Conference road test of the season.

Iowa shot 50 percent from the floor and had significant advantages in points in the paint (50-32) and points off turnovers (16-7), but Indiana stayed unbeaten after burying 11 3-pointers, outrebounding Iowa 42-39 and getting 27 points from its bench in an 86-84 home win.

“I am disappointed in the defensive effort of our basketball team,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “We didn’t want to close out on their shooters or get through screens. When it came time to play a little desperate, we finally played like we are capable of playing. We can’t wait until it’s desperation time. We have to play that way the entire time.”

The Hoosiers led by as many as 12 in the second half but had to hold off a late Iowa rally that saw the lead dwindle to two points on more than one occasion. Indiana (14-0, 1-0) was 19-of-33 from the line in the game but drained 10-of-13 in the final minute to hold off the charging Hawkeyes. There were seven ties and eight lead changes in the contest.

“We shouldn’t be getting down 12 points. We came out very lackluster to start the game,” Bluder said. “It’s frustrating to be down by seven at halftime.”

Trailing by 10 with 7:45 to play, the Hawkeyes rallied behind strong play from Samantha Logic, Bethany Doolittle and Melissa Dixon.

Logic buried a jumper and Dixon canned a 3 to close the gap to three points with 2:40 to play and then another bucket from Logic made it 74-72 with 2 minutes left. Indiana scored the next five points to go back up seven and maintained that advantage until Dixon’s two freebies with 33 seconds left cut into the deficit. Logic then connected on her only trey of the game four seconds later to get within two.

The Hoosiers, though, put the game away at the line. They made 3-of-4 in the final 25 seconds and Larryn Brooks was 6-of-6 in the final minute.

Brooks led the Hoosiers with 20 points and nine assists, while Tabitha Geradot added 16 points and 10 rebounds. Simone Deloach also had a double-double with 10 points, 14 boards, three blocks and three steals and Taylor Agler (13) and Karlee McBride (14) gave Indiana five players in double figures.

“There was a lack of emotion on defense tonight,” Bluder said. “That is not like us. We didn’t have the emotion and energy that I am used to seeing and I really don’t have an answer as to why.”

Bluder was very frustrated with 11 offensive rebounds the Hawkeyes gave up in the final 20 minutes. Iowa gave up 16 offensive rebounds – 12 combined from Geradot and Deloach – and that led to 14 second-chance points.

“We gave up 11 offensive rebounds in the second half alone,” said Bluder. “We are not crashing well, we are not boxing well. Basically, two players out-rebounded our whole team tonight.”

Iowa (12-3, 0-1) finished with four players in double-figures but only got 17 points off the bench.

Logic’s 25 points and 12 rebounds led the way, while Doolittle had 20 points, five rebounds and six blocks. Ally Disterhoft scored 13 points, Kali Peschel scored 10 and Dixon put in nine.

Theairra Taylor had seven boards and a team-high six assists but was just 1-of-8 from the floor and 1-of-4 from the line. Iowa was 19-of-29 from the line and just 3-of-17 from 3-point range in the loss.

The Hawkeyes hope to bounce back Sunday when they take on No. 15 Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.

“We need a big crowd there,” Bluder said. “They are a good team. We need to have a great performance. We have to get this one back. Hopefully we can play well Sunday so we can get things turned around.”