116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Lisa Bluder missed it.
“I was turning, talking to the team (on the bench),” said the Iowa women’s basketball coach.
Caitlin Clark missed it, too.
“I was running back (downcourt) after the (first) layup,” said the sophomore guard.
Tomi Taiwo didn’t miss it. Her Sunday sequence of make-it-take-it-make-it-again is on the short list of signature plays of the year for the Hawkeyes.
It came with about 2:50 left in the second quarter and the Hawkeyes leading Illinois 32-19 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Taiwo drove the right side of the court to the basket and laid it in. Illinois’ Kendall Bostic inbounded to Jada Peebles, but Taiwo was still lingering in the vicinity.
“What happened was they passed it to (Peebles), and she wasn’t looking,” Taiwo said. “I was right behind her, I swiped it, and it worked out for me.”
Four seconds, four points. Right-handed drive, left-handed layup. The sequence ignited a 9-0 run that ended the half and took the fight out of the Fighting Illini for good.
Iowa won, 82-56, for its fifth consecutive victory. The lopsidedness allowed Bluder to rest the key players late; nobody played more than 30 minutes.
With the upcoming schedule — five games in 13 days, four on the road — the more the 23rd-ranked Hawkeyes (12-4 overall, 6-1 Big Ten) can pace themselves, the better.
Iowa faces Penn State (9-8, 3-4) for a 5 p.m. tip Tuesday at the Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pa.
The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Taiwo, who scored a career-high 14 points Sunday, was the ringleader of an Iowa bench that showed more production than it has most of the season. Kylie Feuerbach, a sophomore and a transfer from Iowa State, added 10 points.
Of course, Clark and Monika Czinano held up their end of the bargain, as well.
Czinano scored a game-high 21 points. Clark registered 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, concluding a resume that earned her Big Ten player-of-the-week honors for the fourth week in a row.
Iowa originally was supposed to play Penn State on Dec. 30, but the game got moved to Tuesday because of COVID-19 issues within the Nittany Lions’ program.
Such is life these days in college athletics.
“It’s not going to be an ideal situation going there on one day of prep, but that’s what we have to do,” Bluder said. “It’s important to keep our consistency going.”
The Hawkeyes are at Northwestern on Friday, then host Ohio State next Monday.