Iowa Women's Basketball

Nebraska loss "like a bad dream" for Iowa women's basketball

Huskers hammer No. 25 Iowa, 92-74

IOWA CITY — Nearly 9,000 folks were in attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday.

The Iowa Hawkeyes, though, were a no-show.

Three days after their biggest win of the season, the 25th-ranked Hawkeyes followed with a massive clunker and were drubbed by Nebraska, 92-74, in a Big Ten women’s basketball game Sunday afternoon.

“I feel so bad for our performance today,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “I need to apologize to the people that came out to support us.”

Nebraska (16-6 overall, 7-2 Big Ten) stung the Hawkeyes (16-6, 4-5) with a 25-1 first-half blitz on its way to a 56-26 halftime lead.

Yes, 25-1. And yes, 56-26.

The margin grew to 36 points on three occasions in the third quarter. If this was a high-school game, the continuous clock would have been activated. It was that lopsided.

“I can’t even explain the performance we gave in the first half,” Bluder said. “It was like a bad dream. We couldn’t get out of it.”

The 56 points were the most Nebraska has ever scored in the first half of a conference game, Big Eight, Big 12 or Big Ten.

“In the first half, our defensive intensity wasn’t there,” said Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, who recorded her 20th double-double of the season (26 points, 10 rebounds) and went over the 1,500-point mark for her career. “We didn’t bring the intensity we had (Thursday) against Ohio State.”

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The Hawkeyes were coming off an extremely sharp performance in that 103-89 victory, and they got off to a promising start Sunday, taking an 11-7 lead in the first 4:15 in front of a crowd of 8,823 that included hundreds of Girl Scouts.

Then, suddenly, the bottom dropped out.

Gustafson’s free throw gave the Hawkeyes a 12-11 edge, then Janay Morton hit three 3-pointers — including an off-balance bank job that ended the first quarter. That triggered a run of 21 consecutive points that put the Huskers in command, 32-12.

Then, Nebraska concluded the half with another surge, a 15-2 haymaker that put it away.

“That’s athletics,” Bluder said. “There’s highs, there’s lows.”

And Sunday was about as low as it could get.

The Hawkeyes didn’t resemble their Thursday selves, and Nebraska looks nothing like last year’s team, which went 7-22.

“Our team set the tone in the offseason,” Huskers Coach Amy Williams said. “They bought into their strength and conditioning.

“I’m proud of our team. They were very, very focused. They carried out the game plan, from top to bottom.”

Maddie Simon led the Huskers with 19 points, followed by Hannah Whitish (16), Jasmine Cincore (13) and Morton (13).

Kathleen Doyle was the only other Hawkeye in double figures, with 16 points.

The Hawkeyes are at Michigan State on Thursday, then host Minnesota on Sunday.

NEBRASKA 92, IOWA 74

At Iowa City

NEBRASKA (92): Maddie Simon 5-14 9-10 19, Kate Cain 3-4 0-0 6, Hannah Whitish 5-7 4-4 16, Nica Eliely 2-4 3-3 7, Jasmine Cincore 6-7 0-0 13, Emily Wood 0-2 4-4 4, Janay Morton 3-8 4-6 13, Grace Mitchell 0-0 0-0 0, Bria Stallworth 3-5 0-0 6, Taylor Kissinger 2-6 0-0 5, Rachel Blackburn 1-3 1-2 3, Darrien Washington 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-61 25-29 92.

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IOWA (74): Chase Coley 3-4 2-2 8, Megan Gustafson 10-19 6-8 26, Makenzie Meyer 3-10 3-4 9, Alexis Sevillian 1-4 0-0 2, Kathleen Doyle 6-17 3-5 16, Hannah Stewart 2-7 2-3 6, Zion Sanders 2-3 1-1 5, Paula Valino Ramos 1-2 0-0 2, Carly Mohns 0-0 0-0 0, Amanda Ollinger 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-68 17-23 74.

Halftime: Nebraska 56, Iowa 26. 3-point goals: Nebraska 7-20 (Simon 0-1, Whitish 2-4, Cincore 1-1, Wood 0-2, Morton 3-5, Kissinger 1-5, Blackburn 0-1), Iowa 1-12 (Meyer 0-4, Sevillian 0-2, Doyle 1-3, Sanders 0-1, Ollinger 0-2). Team fouls: Nebraska 21, Iowa 20. Fouled out: none. Technical foul: Iowa bench. Rebounds: Nebraska 44 (Simon 8), Iowa 33 (Gustafson 10). Assists: Nebraska 13 (Whitish 6), Iowa 15 (Meyer, Doyle 4). Steals: Nebraska 10 (Eliely 3), Iowa 11 (Meyer, Doyle 3). Turnovers: Nebraska 21, Iowa 16.

Attendance: 8,823.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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