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On the officials and on Lauren Jensen, Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder had plenty to say
Creighton shocks Iowa in NCAA women’s basketball tournament, 64-62
IOWA CITY — Lisa Bluder was happy for Lauren Jensen.
The officials? Not so much.
Iowa’s coach had plenty to say on both matters after Creighton shocked the eighth-ranked Hawkeyes, 64-62, in Sunday’s NCAA women’s basketball second-round game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I'll say I do believe that game was called differently than what we've seen all year, and I really think that's unfortunate,” Bluder said. “We average going to the free-throw line 18 times; we go eight tonight.
“We averaged 34 fouls being called in a game, 22 were called tonight. It's pretty frustrating when an NCAA game is called completely different than the 30 games that prepared you for this point, and that is very frustrating.”
A partisan-Iowa sellout crowd of 14,382 would concur. Carver was vocal most of the game, and a good part of the first half was a boo-fest.
It’s not as if Creighton got many whistles, either. The Bluejays were called for 12 fouls, Iowa for 10. The Bluejays were 6 of 10 from the free-throw line, the Hawkeyes were 7 of 8.
“I don't want that to take away anything from Creighton's excellent preparation and their excellent performance,” Bluder said. “I don't mind if it's called, but call it that way in November, call it that way in December, January, February.
“Don't come in March and change our style of officiating. That's what frustrates me.”
The Bluejays (22-9) weren’t afraid to mix it up with the Hawkeyes (24-8). About three minutes into the game, Payton Brotzki bodied Caitlin Clark — twice, and hard — about 30 feet from the basket. And yes, she was called for a foul.
“I've played against Caitlin since seventh grade. She's an amazing player, one of the best in the country,” Brotzki said. “But we wanted to let them know that we were ready to come out and be physical and we were just ready to go.”
Creighton built its largest lead at 12 late in the second quarter. Iowa got within 38-32 by intermission.
The officials didn’t beat Iowa. Here’s what did:
- Creighton outrebounded the Hawkeyes, 52-37, and enjoyed a 19-8 advantage in second-chance points.
- The Hawkeyes shot a season-worst 35.7 percent (25 of 70). Monika Czinano made her first six, then finished 12 of 20. Clark was 4 of 19. Everybody else was 9 of 31.
“Yeah, I would have liked to get more calls. I could say that every single game,” Clark said. “Coach Bluder could say that every single game, our opponent could say that every single game. And I'm not going to sit here and make excuses for how I played.”
- The Iowa surge that everybody expected never came. Iowa did score eight straight points for a 58-54 lead with 5:34 to go, but then came the last factor that sent the Hawkeyes home:
A Minnesota native who played one season here before transferring to Creighton, Jensen scored 19 points, nine in the final 4:43.
“Obviously that's an incredible storyline,” Bluder said. “She goes over there and she comes back and beats us on our home court, and I want to congratulate her because she's a great kid. She is a really, really good kid.
“I'm happy for her. I wish it wasn't in this situation, but I am happy for her that she's found a really good home and is really having a lot of success.”