Iowa 79, Purdue 66: Paint Domination

By BraydonRoberts5 on January 13, 2022 at 9:59 pm
Monika Czinano went 12-14 from the field in Iowa's win over Purdue
IowaWBB/Twitter
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Last Sunday’s game against Nebraska seemed like it might be a turning point for Iowa’s season. Finally, shooters were getting hot from three. Finally, the Iowa offense looked like the one that was among the best in the country last year. And finally, Iowa got a win against a likely NCAA Tournament team on the road.

But one game doesn’t make a turning point. Purdue is an improved team from last year, but they're still unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament. A road loss at Purdue would likely undo most of the good that Sunday’s win at Nebraska did for Iowa’s resume and team morale.

Iowa started the game quickly on offense. The Hawks attacked the paint, either off the dribble or on post entries, and both worked well most of the time. On the other end, Iowa forced Purdue into some tough shots that they largely missed. The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the quarter. But then the Hawkeye offense slowed and Purdue got going a bit. The Boilermakers closed the quarter on a run, and cut Iowa’s lead in half to 18-13.

Purdue’s momentum carried over to the second quarter, and a few minutes in they took their first lead of the game at 23-22. The middle portion of the quarter was sloppy, with both teams turning the ball over or missing shots. Finally late in the half Iowa got going again, mostly due to Monika Czinano in the paint. Iowa got two late free throws from Caitlin Clark to push the halftime advantage to 37-30. Czinano had 17 points and 7 rebounds at the break.

The third quarter was more back and forth, though Iowa got the better of the play thanks largely to Czinano. The Hawks led by as many as 13 in the quarter, and took a 55-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Hawkeye offense started slow in the fourth quarter. Then things got worse, as Czinano picked up her fourth foul and had to sit for a time. Iowa’s lead got as low as 7, before they started getting stops on defense and started scoring again offensively. Iowa used that to go on a run and grow the lead as high as 16 at 70-54. Iowa kept the advantage from there and won 79-66.

Czinano led Iowa with 27 points and 8 rebounds on 12/14 shooting. Purdue had no answer for her in the post. Clark had 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists. She was 0/6 from three, but 14/16 from the line. McKenna Warnock had just 6 points, but added 4 assists and 11 rebounds. A box score for the game is here.

Thoughts

Though Iowa won against Nebraska Sunday, the team’s defensive rebounding was a major concern. Nebraska had 23 offensive rebounds in that game, and largely dominated Iowa on the glass. Today, Purdue had only nine offensive rebounds, and just two in the first half. Purdue isn’t a particularly large or athletic team, but it was still good to see Iowa rebound much better than in the past few games.

Iowa had their best three-point shooting day of the year against Nebraska, going 11/19 from deep. Today, the team had their worst, going a stunning 0/15 from three-point range. In a season full of inconsistencies for Iowa, three-point shooting continues to be the biggest inconsistency of all. Luckily the Hawks didn’t need three-point shooting today.

Iowa’s defense never looks particularly good, but in most games this year, it has been better. Last year, the Hawkeyes gave up 80 points per game on average. Today, they surrendered just 66. That’s still not close to the best teams in the country, but it is much better than last year. And it’s more than enough for a team that can score 79 without making a single 3-pointer.

Next Up

Iowa returns to action this Sunday, January 16th at 5 PM CT at home against Nebraska. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Iowa usually doesn’t play the same opponent twice in just over a week, so this matchup should be interesting. Will Iowa’s offense again shoot the lights out against Nebraska? Will Nebraska continue to destroy Iowa on the offensive glass? Tune in to find out.

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