Tonight at 7 p.m., the Iowa women’s basketball team will play host to one of the toughest teams in the Big Ten: No. 12 Ohio State.
Despite dropping out of the AP poll, the Hawkeyes (15-5, 3-4 B1G) are still clinging to the No. 25 spot in the coaches poll. Iowa is still struggling and have now dropped three-straight contests, their latest a 77-72 setback in Minnesota.
The Hawkeyes had a chance to tie the game, but turned the ball over with 19 seconds left, down by three points.
“We had a chance, we were down three and were running a 3-point play, but unfortunately we turn the ball over,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said to HawkeyeSports after the game. “We had a chance to tie this game and send it into overtime. That’s what you want on the road to have that opportunity to win and we had that.”
Iowa went cold from the three-point line, hitting just 2-of-14. The Hawkeyes did get one piece back, as Makenzie Meyer made her first start since breaking her hand. She missed six games, but played all 40 minutes in the loss, finishing with four points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds.
She brings back some much needed guard depth, something Iowa has not had since losing Tania Davis for the season.
But, it’s on to Ohio State and a chance to grab a signature victory.
The Iowa Hawkeyes are ready to take on Ohio State, Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena! pic.twitter.com/oRaofPPp1C— Iowa Women's BBall (@IowaWBB) January 22, 2018
Kelsey Mitchell continues to be tremendous for Ohio State, averaging 24.8 points per game and is hitting 39.4 percent of her three-point attempts. There’s more to the Buckeyes than her, however, and three other players on the team are averaging double-digits in points: Linnae Harper (15.3), Stephanie Mavunga (15.2), and Sierra Calhoun (12.6).
Mavunga is also strong on the boards, pulling down 11 per game.
Ohio State is a deadly offensive team and is third in the nation in scoring, averaging 86.8 points per game. That’s pretty, pretty good.
They take a whole bunch of shots from behind the arc and in order to pull out a win, Iowa’s going to need to play some of the best defense they’ve played all year.
““It will be nice to be back in Carver,” Bluder said to HawkeyeSports. “We’re struggling right now. We need to get back on a winning trail, but a good win would solve a lot of problems.”
Of note? Megan Gustafson needs just three points to tie Kristi Smith for 14th most all time (1,455) and three rebounds to tie Jennie Lillis (827) for ninth-most, all time. That’s some great company to be in.
Here’s the all-time list, if you’re curious:
And, lastly, if you get to Carver early (e.g. first 2,000 people inside), they’re going to hook you up with a pretty sweet Bluder bobblehead.
As a bobblehead enthusiast, I say go get this one.