Can the Iowa women’s basketball team play top 25 teams every night out?
That may be what coach Lisa Bluder is saying after her Hawkeyes ousted another ranked foe on Sunday afternoon.
Iowa trailed by as many as 10 in the first half and then got down by nine in the second half but battled back, picked up its defensive intensity and got a career night from sophomore Bethany Doolittle in a 63-57 win over No. 23 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“Big Ten road wins are tough to get,” Bluder said. “It’s another win against a top 25 team and it should give us some momentum heading into Illinois on Thursday.”
Doolittle led three Iowa players in double-figures with 19 points and it was her eight points in the final 5:32 that triggered a 10-4 run to end the game and secure the win for the Hawkeyes, who are now 16-5 overall and 5-2 in league play.
Iowa also improved to 6-0 against top 25 foes this season.
“They left some gaps at the short corner in the zone and my teammates were able to find me,” Doolittle said. “This win should definitely give us confidence and some momentum moving forward.”
Iowa led 17-16 with 8:43 to play in the first half before Michigan went on an 11-0 run to go up 27-17 with just less than 5 minutes to go. The Hawkeyes though erased that deficit with a 13-5 run to end the half and only trailed by two at the break.
“We felt good at the break being only down by two points,” Bluder said. “It was defense that won us this game today.”
Jaime Printy scored seven points during that run and Sam Logic connected on 4-of-4 from the line.
The Wolverines pushed their lead back to nine when they scored the first seven points of the second half.
But once again, Iowa used a big run – this time 14-2 – to regain the lead at 44-41.
Then, with the game tied at 53, Iowa used a 10-4 run in the final 5:32 to seal the victory in front of better than 2,000 fans at the Crisler Center. Doolittle’s eight points were the difference but Printy also banged in two free throws with 8 seconds to play.
“We held them without a field goal for almost seven minutes straight down the stretch,” Bluder said. “And Bethany Doolittle came to play today.”
Printy finished with 14 points and five rebounds and became the sixth player in Iowa history to score better than 1,700 points. Logic added 10 points, eight assists and six boards in the win.
Morgan Johnson took just four shots and was held to 11 points under her average after finishing with six points and seven boards.
Iowa shot 46 percent from the field in the game but was better than 60 percent in the second half. The Hawkeyes hit 12-of-14 from the line but were just 5-of-20 from long range.
“I didn’t realize we shot it that well in the second half, it didn’t feel like it,” Bluder said. “We had good clock management and just played smart basketball. We were really focused today, too.”
Jenny Ryan led Michigan (16-4, 5-2) with 20 points and four assists, while Sam Arnold had 12 points off the bench. Kate Thompson and Nya Jordan also each scored 10 points. Michigan was just 9-of-15 from the foul line.
Iowa 71, Wisconsin 60
Thanks to 29 points from Printy, the Iowa women’s basketball team was able to rally past Wisconsin on Thursday night.
The Hawkeyes trailed by two points with 4:54 to play in the game, but used a 16-0 run to go out in front for good during an 11-point win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Not the prettiest basketball maybe we’ve played all year, but it’s a win, and that’s good,” Bluder said. “Jaime Printy was a hero tonight in my opinion. We’re down one point with six minutes to go, and she scores 14 straight points. That makes a coach’s life awful easy.”
Printy scored 14 of the final 16 points during the run for Iowa and eight of those came at the line. She scored 29 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists in the win.
“She is unbelievable at the free throw line, but she did it in all areas, taking it to the hoop, step back threes, going to the free throw line,” Bluder said of Printy’s performance. “So it was in all manners that she was looking to score. I felt like she just took it upon herself at that point to go assure us that we were going to get this win.”
Iowa also got 10 points and seven boards from Doolittle and Melissa Dixon added 10 points off the bench. The Hawkeyes’ bench outscored Wisconsin, 14-2 and Logic also had six points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Cassie Rochel led the Badgers with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Jacki Gulczynski also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.
Iowa native Morgan Paige, who went to Printy’s high school at Linn-Mar, had 14 points but was just 6-of-18 from the floor and 1-of-9 from long range.
Iowa shot 49 percent from the floor in the win and hit 16-of-18 from the line, while the Badgers (9-11, 1-6) connected on just 38 percent of their shots and were 5-for-26 from 3-point range.
Iowa did not have Johnson for a large portion of the game due to a bloody nose. She was limited to just 17 minutes but others stepped up in her absence.
“Any time you get a win, that’s the bottom line. We found a way to win, and that’s good,” Bluder said. “Again, we’re used to having Morgan, double doubles and that sort of thing, on the floor a lot more time, and Kayla Timmerman stepping in as a freshman and playing more and more minutes all the time, one time we had a four guard lineup in there, so we found a way to get the job done. When things aren’t always going your way, that’s what you have to do, and that’s what winning teams do.”