For two and a half quarters, everything was going Princeton’s way. The Tigers were slowing the game’s tempo, getting good looks in the post, and hitting many of their open three-pointers. Iowa, meanwhile, was floundering offensively, with Monika Czinano stuck in foul trouble and no one stepping up to support Kathleen Doyle’s big night. Despite Doyle’s efforts, the Hawkeyes trailed by double digits for much of the second and third quarters, and looked like a dead team walking.
Then things got a little bonkers. Freshmen Gabbie Marshall and McKenna Warnock stepped up and hit back to back three-pointers in less than a minute to dig into Princeton’s lead. The shots flustered the Tigers, and they quickly turned the ball over. Reserve sophomore Tomi Taiwo finished a fast break layup at the other end, and suddenly, Princeton’s big lead was cut to two. The Hawkeyes were back in it.
Iowa managed to tie things soon after, though Princeton took a narrow 2-point lead into the fourth quarter thanks to late free throws. The fourth quarter went back and forth. Princeton took the early quarter lead, but Iowa’s defense stiffened late, and they rallied back to take the lead with 51 seconds left.
Then things got bonkers again.
Over the next few seconds, Princeton scored to take the lead, before Doyle drew a quick foul and converted both free throws. The Hawks led by one again with 31 seconds to play.
Princeton tried to hold for the last shot, and got a close look that didn’t fall. Iowa got possession back and got fouled. Makenzie Meyer then converted two free throws that should have ended the game.
But they didn’t. Because a quiet ending wouldn’t be bonkers enough.
Instead, Princeton advanced the ball to its own half with a timeout, and got the pass in to the top of the key. The Princeton guard then literally threw the ball at the basket over two Iowa defenders… and it banked in. Tie game. Against all odds.
Iowa looked just as stunned as the crowd felt to begin overtime. The Hawks turned the ball over multiple times, and Princeton jumped out to a 6-point lead with two minutes to play. The Hawks looked like dead women walking again. Like the game was all but over.
But remember, a quiet ending isn’t bonkers.
Meyer began Iowa’s comeback effort with a three-pointer. The Hawkeyes then got a stop, and Warnock was fouled on the rebound. She went 2-2 from the line, and the Princeton lead was down to one. After another stop, Meyer got fouled and hit both free throws. Suddenly it was Iowa in the lead again with 50 seconds to play.
As in regulation, Iowa and Princeton then split scores, before Iowa got a stop and Doyle hit two free throws to put Iowa up three with 4.4 seconds to play.
This time, Coach Bluder was weary of another miracle three-pointer and ordered Iowa to intentionally foul to prevent it. But the Princeton guard saw that coming and jacked a half court three just as the foul came. The referees initially called a regular foul, then reversed themselves and awarded three free throws. Princeton would have yet another shot to tie the game.
Thankfully for Iowa, even the most bonkers game must come to and end. Princeton missed the first free throw, and the intentional miss on the third fell to Amanda Ollinger. Ollinger was fouled, and missed both of her free throws, but Princeton’s full-court prayer came up short.
Iowa survived to win 77-75 in one of the most bonkers games I’ve ever seen.
Doyle led Iowa with 21 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds. She carried Iowa for much of the first half, then led the Hawks down the stretch, going 10/12 from the free throw line. Meyer was cold for much of the first three quarters, then caught fire in the fourth quarter and overtime. She ended the game with 19 points and 7 rebounds, and went 5/10 from three. Monika Czinano scored 10 points, but played only 19 of 45 minutes due to foul trouble. Amanda Ollinger played well in her place, scoring 8 and grabbing 13 rebounds. A box score for the game is here.
Gabbie Marshall’s three-pointer sparked Iowa’s run initially, and she was in for most of Iowa’s important minutes in the fourth quarter and overtime, before being subbed out late. She ended with 8 points, including 2/4 shooting from three.
McKenna Warnock stepped up in Czinano’s absence and played big minutes, including helping Iowa’s third quarter run with a three. She later added two clutch free throws in overtime, and ended the game with 5 points and 4 rebounds.
Kate Martin played only six minutes in this one, but grabbed three rebounds in that time. Her minutes were down primarily due to matchup issues. Princeton had a couple big, agile forwards, and Iowa needed Ollinger and Warnock’s size more at the 4 position.
Iowa gets some time off before traveling to Puerto Rico to take part in the Puerto Rico Classico. The Hawks play their first game at 1:30 PM CT on Wednesday, November 27 against Cincinnati. All of the Classico games will be streamed on Flo Hoops.