In Iowa’s regular season game against Maryland, the Hawks shot 17/33 from three. Monica Czinano was a perfect 8-8 from the floor. In most games, those stats would mean that Iowa won easily. But against Maryland it meant the Hawks lost 111-93. Because getting into a shootout with Maryland is like starting a land war in Asia—it’s rarely going to work out well for you.
Unfortunately for Iowa, today’s game was another shootout. And Maryland was shooting well early. Behind strong three-point shooting, and a dominance on the offensive glass, Maryland jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter. Iowa battled back and narrowed that to three for a short time, before Maryland went on another run to end the quarter and led 29-18.
Maryland continued its hot start in the second quarter, and quickly pushed their lead to 15. Iowa then got a couple stops in a row and went on a 7-0 run of their own to cut Maryland’s lead down to eight. Unfortunately, that’s as close as it would get. Maryland dominated the rest of the quarter, and took a 55-37 lead into halftime.
Iowa fought hard to begin the third quarter, and cut Maryland’s lead as low as 14, but the Terps were still too much and dominated the end of the quarter to take a 79-57 lead to the fourth. Iowa ran out of gas in the final quarter, but still battled hard and managed to win the quarter. Maryland easily won the game 104-84, however.
Czinano led Iowa with 22 points and 7 rebounds on 10/13 shooting. She also broke the scoring record for an individual player in a Big Ten Tournament.
B1G TOURNAMENT RECORD @MCzinano has the @B1Gwbball Tournament record for points scored in a single tournament. The junior has scored 101 points in the last 3.5 games, besting the previous record of 100 points (Nia Coffey, NW, 2016). #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/oGrSDBuRv9— Iowa Women's BBall (@IowaWBB) March 13, 2021
Caitlin Clark had 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, but struggled with shooting for a fourth straight game. She did break the Big Ten Tournament record for most assists in the tournament, though.
Random note: Freshman Caitlin Clark broke a Big Ten single-tournament record, tallying 37 assists in four games.— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) March 13, 2021
McKenna Warnock had another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall were the last Hawkeyes in double-figures with 11 apiece. A box score for the game is here.
Iowa started today’s game in a 2-3 zone, and frankly I don’t know why that was the defense Coach Bluder chose. Iowa has played okay in it lately, and has played some good defense for stretches this week, but the 2-3 zone has been the team’s weakest defense this season. Iowa is especially prone to giving up wide open three-pointers and offensive rebounds when playing it. Those are two of Maryland’s biggest strengths, and made a tremendous difference in this game.
Though Iowa got blown out for a second straight game against Maryland, I’m glad Iowa got another matchup with them. Unless something goes terribly wrong, Maryland is going to be at the top of the conference for the next few seasons, because most of the core of this year’s team is young. If Iowa wants to achieve Big Ten championships or deep postseason runs, it’s going to have to learn to defeat Maryland and teams like it. It was too early to do that this season, but if Iowa can progress as a team, especially defensively, these games should get more competitive in the coming years.
Today’s game obviously didn’t go the way Iowa wanted, but it doesn’t take away from this great tournament run and a very strong end to the season. In the last few weeks, the Hawks have turned a fairly forgettable season into a memorable one. They have also given themselves and fans plenty of reasons for optimism. The next few seasons should be very, very fun.
Iowa returns to action in the NCAA Tournament, which begins next Sunday, March 21. The Selection Show for the NCAA Tournament is on Monday, March 15 at 6 PM Central on ESPN. ESPN projected Iowa as a 5 seed in the Tournament coming into today, and the broadcast indicated it would stay a 5 seed no matter the result. A 5 or 6 seed seems like the most likely outcome for Iowa. The Hawks should be favored in their first round game, then have a chance to pull an upset and make the Sweet 16.