The Iowa women traveled to Indianapolis last week and made it to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament before losing to Nebraska, 72-65.
They knocked off Illinois, Purdue and Ohio State along the way.
The game against Illinois last Thursday was the third time Iowa played the Fighting Illini this season.
They won for the third time, 81-62, but not without some challenges.
Samantha Logic picked up two quick fouls, sat out for a while, came back in, got her third foul and Illinois took a one-point lead, 27-26, with 4:22 left in the first half.
The Hawks exploded for a 15-3 run, led 41-29 at half and cruised for their 24th win.
What a great group of players.
Alexa Kastanek stepped up when Samantha got into foul trouble.
The 5-11 freshman played 10 minutes in the first half, had three assists, a steal, only one turnover and hit a big 3-pointer during the run.
“Alexa did a great job,” said head coach Lisa Bluder. “She had some beautiful passes, especially out of those traps. We did have too many turnovers, but we didn’t let it take us out of our game. I thought we regained our focus at halftime and did a better job of taking care of the basketball.”
Bethany Doolittle was tough to stop down low.
She scored 13 in the first half and 13 in the second.
How about Ally Disterhoft scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half? She also had a big blocked shot during Iowa’s run in the last four minutes of the half.
The former West High Trojan had 14 points and 12 boards.
The second game against Purdue was payback time.
Like I said last week, if Iowa makes one more basket or two more free throws, they beat the Boilermakers during the regular season and have the fourth seed and wouldn’t have had to play Thursday.
The Hawkeyes’ 87-80 win over Purdue Friday was fun to watch.
Purdue led most of the way, but Iowa kept fighting back.
All five starters in double figures, the Hawkeyes go 22-24 from the free throw line and have 18 assists and only 11 turnovers.
“We weren’t happy with our free throw shooting about two months ago,” said coach Bluder. “We really challenged our players. They’ve done a great job getting extra shots but a lot of that is mental and I think mentally we were superior today.”
On Saturday, the Hawks knocked off Ohio State, 77-73.
Theairra Taylor led the way with 21 points.
You look at the stats and wonder how the Hawkeyes did it.
The Buckeyes had more rebounds (34-31), more points in the paint (46-20), more second-chance points (20-11) and more bench points (15-3).
Alexa Kastanek didn’t even play and Kathryn Reynolds, a seldom-used guard, came in and played six minutes with no points but no turnovers.
Samantha Logic only scored one point but had nine assists, two steals and only one turnover.
That’s 26 wins for the season!
It still amazes me that’s the most wins ever for Lisa Bluder as the head coach at Iowa.
The championship game saw Nebraska jump out to a huge lead. Iowa fought back but the Cornhuskers held on, 72-65.
The main statistic that sticks out is the Hawkeyes were called for 26 fouls, Big Red 13.
That means 30 made free throws for the bad guys (girls), 11 for Iowa.
The Hawks had two players foul out, Big Red had one player with four fouls.
Are you serious?
How about Lisa Bluder getting a technical foul for stomping her feet... that’s the dumbest call I’ve ever seen... and I’m almost 60!
Ally Disterhoft played 39 minutes, led Iowa with 20 points, but when Bethany Doolittle got into foul trouble and only scored seven points that hurt.
What a great run though, and 26 wins with a least one more game to play.
Iowa will host the first round of the NCAA tournament Sunday, March 23.