Winning on the road in the Big Ten is never easy. That’s true for the good teams and the bad. The best teams in the conference and those in the cellar.
At the midway point of the third quarter, however, it looked like Iowa would somehow avoid road difficulties at Purdue. At that point, Iowa lead 55-41 and looked in control of the game. Iowa was playing great defense, was dominating points in the paint, and was even starting to hit some open threes.
And then Purdue got hot. Their offense started to make tough jumpers. Their defense impacted shots just enough to force misses and get the ball in transition.
The Boilermakers made their last seven shots of the third quarter, and had Iowa’s lead down to six heading to the fourth.
Purdue’s momentum continued into the fourth quarter, and soon Iowa’s lead was just two. Iowa called timeout to try and quell Purdue’s momentum.
Luckily, it did just that. After the timeout, Iowa’s defense returned to form, and they held Purdue without a field goal for more than seven minutes. Iowa’s offense also got back to form, getting some baskets in the paint and a couple threes. Ultimately, Iowa won 83-71 in a game that was much closer in the fourth quarter than the final score indicates.
Kathleen Doyle and Makenzie Meyer led Iowa with 22 points apiece. Both got to the basket especially well today, either off the dribble or on cuts. Monika Czinano was nearly as good, scoring 20 points on 10-11 shooting. Purdue has some of the best post defense in the conference, and Czinano just shredded it today. Amanda Ollinger added 8 points and 12 rebounds along with her typically good defense. A box score for the game is here.
NCAA Tournament Seeding
On Monday, the NCAA released its Top 16 teams for the NCAA Tournament if the Tournament were to start then. Here’s how things looked:
The good news for Iowa its that they are among those Top 16 teams. In women’s college basketball, the Top 16 teams get to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. For an Iowa team that hasn’t lost at home in more than two years, that would greatly improve their chances of advancing to the Sweet 16 for a second consecutive season.
The bad news for Iowa is that they aren't in the Top 16 by much. That means Iowa doesn’t have a lot of margin for error. They can’t afford to drop a game at home or to one of the teams in the bottom half of the conference.
Big Ten Standings Through Sunday
7-5 Ohio State
Iowa's next game is their biggest of the season. On Thursday, February 13th at 5 PM Iowa travels to College Park to take on #13 Maryland. The Terrapins are co-leaders of the Big Ten with Iowa, and the winner of that game will have a significant advantage over the other with just four games remaining in the Big Ten season.
Iowa beat Maryland 66-61 at home last month, but the game was weird to say the least. Iowa had 23 turnovers, surrendered 38 offensive rebounds, took 34 fewer shots in the game, but came away victorious anyway mainly because Maryland shot 31% from the floor and 16% from three.
Maryland isn’t going to shoot that poorly Thursday. And because of that, Iowa will need to be much better in handling the ball and on the glass. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.