It hasn’t been an easy road for Iowa’s two seniors—Chase Coley and Carly Mohns. As a sophomore, Coley started 31 of 33 games while averaging 11.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. She looked destined to be one of Iowa’s most important players in her final two seasons. Then as a junior, things went backwards. Coley started only two games, despite being healthy all year, and averaged a mere 4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Fans were left to wonder which Coley they would see during her senior season—the starter who can be the team’s second or third scoring option, or the backup who never lived up to her promise.
To her credit, Coley stepped up and has delivered a stellar year. Thus far she’s averaged 9.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg while consistently knocking down big shots. Her biggest came at Michigan State, where her jumper in the final seconds of overtime gave Iowa a much needed road win and helped propel their 7-game winning streak to close the regular season.
Mohns’ struggles are all injury-related. Over the course of her career, she’s had six different surgeries on her knee. Despite that, she’s worked hard over the course of her career to influence games off of Iowa’s bench. Her biggest game this season came in Iowa’s win over Michigan early in Big Ten play. Mohns recorded 9 points and 6 rebounds in the game, while also securing the steal that helped shift momentum decisively in Iowa’s favor.
In their final game in Carver Hawkeye Arena, both played important roles in Iowa’s 75-62 victory over Indiana. The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 20-8 first quarter lead, as they used tough man defense and phenomenal post play to dominate Indiana early. That continued for most of the game, as Iowa’s halftime lead was 18 and their lead after three quarters was 17. The Hawks coasted home from there to earn the 13 point victory.
Coley had a very balanced game for Iowa, with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Passing is an underappreciated part of any post’s game, and Coley has been especially good at catching around the free throw line and dumping passes down to Megan Gustafson for easy finishes. Mohns added 6 rebounds and 2 steals off the bench.
The Hawkeyes were led by Gustafson, who finished with 36 points and 15 rebounds. It was yet another phenomenal performance in a record-breaking season for the junior. Gustafson has already secured Iowa’s single season record for both points and rebounds in a season, breaking both in Iowa’s road win at Rutgers earlier this week. Today she also had plenty of help, as Makenzie Meyer chipped in 13 points and Hannah Stewart added 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Amanda Cahill led Indiana with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Jaelynn Penn and Bendu Yeaney (a finalist for All-Big Ten Best Name) added 13 and 10 points respectively. Indiana’s leading scorer, Tyra Buss (21.1 ppg), was held mostly in check, as she scored only 12. Final game stats are here.
Iowa’s two biggest difficulties this season—post Tania Davis’ injury—have been turnovers and 3 point shooting. When they take care of the ball and shoot well, they’re nearly unbeatable (see Iowa’s drubbing of Ohio State). When they don’t do either well, they’re in trouble (like this awful performance against Nebraska). Today was much closer to the former. Iowa took only six three pointers in the game, but they hit two of them. They also only turned it over 11 times. In their dominant first half, they had only 3 turnovers.
Iowa’s defense was also excellent today. Indiana shot 33 percent from the floor despite being hot from 3 (13-26). Early it was man-to-man defense that was working, but Iowa also mixed in some zone and a triangle and two to keep the Hoosiers off balance. Iowa’s guards also did a great job limiting Buss, who came in averaging 25 points per game over her last four contests.
A big reason Iowa’s defense was so good was because of the posts. They played good defense all day and were instrumental in affecting a lot of Indiana’s shots in the paint. The Hosiers made only 8 two point baskets in the entire contest.
As good as they were on defense, the posts might have been better offensively. They combined to score 58 points on 24-42 shooting while adding 32 rebounds.
Nothing. Indiana came in winners of eight in a row and the Hawkeyes absolutely dismantled them.
Big Ten Standings
Ohio State 12-3
Iowa has secured a tie for 3rd in the final Big Ten standings, as Maryland and Nebraska play each other, and one of them will thus lose and fall to 11-5 in conference.
For Big Ten Tournament seeding purposes, the scenarios are far easier to discuss now than they were after Iowa’s last game. If Minnesota defeats Illinois (0-15 in conference) on the road, Iowa will get the #5 seed. They will end in a tie with 11-5 Minnesota and 11-5 Maryland/Nebraska and will lose the tie breaker to either. If Minnesota does slip, Iowa will be the #4 seed and earn a double bye.
Iowa returns to action next week in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament. If Iowa gets the #5 seed, they will play Thursday, March 1st at approximately 1:30 PM against the winner of the Wisconsin-Northwestern game from Wednesday. If Iowa gets the #4 seed, they will play on Friday, March 2nd at approximately 1:30pm against the winner of Minnesota and Wisconsin/Northwestern.