COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The Iowa women’s basketball team hoped to return home with a season sweep of No. 10 Maryland and the outright Big Ten lead.
Instead, the No. 17 Hawkeyes would just as soon forget a puzzling Thursday night on the East Coast when things went wrong in nearly every way.
Iowa committed a season-high 27 turnovers, set a season low in scoring and allowed a season high in points while absorbing a 93-59 loss.
Maryland scored 37 points off turnovers against the Hawkeyes (20-5, 11-3 Big Ten), who trailed by as many as 40 against the team it shared the conference lead with entering the night.
“We’ve usually been pretty good at breaking the press and so that really surprised me,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “But give credit to Maryland. They’re long, they’re athletic and they do a really good job with that press. Even when we broke the press and got into the quarter-court, I thought their quarter-court defense was much, much better.”
Monika Czinano produced a team-high 15 points while making all seven of her field-goal attempts for the Hawkeyes, while Kathleen Doyle had 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
Kaila Charles scored 21 points, Shakira Austin added 20 and Ashley Owusu had 17 points and 10 assists for the Terrapins (21-4, 12-2), who have won 10 games in a row since a 66-61 loss at Iowa on Jan. 9.
Maryland had 38 offensive rebounds in that setback. This time, it didn’t miss even that many shots, connecting on 39 of 70 (55.7 percent) from the floor. At the other end, the Terps’ defense often smothered Iowa before it could set up its offense.
“I think right from the get, we needed to be a little more aggressive,” Czinano said. “I think that’s what we were lacking today.”
Iowa never led, and Maryland gradually expanded its lead while converting defense into offense. The Terps led by 11 after a quarter and 48-23 at halftime, repeatedly turning steals out of its press into easy layups.
By the middle of the third quarter, Iowa had 21 turnovers in 46 possessions.
“I think they were just really fast in transition,” Czinano said. “They got down before we could even set up our defense and that’s kind of where they hurt us today.”
Still, Maryland scored with ease even when it didn’t benefit from a turnover. The Terps held a 58-26 scoring edge in the paint, effectively finding holes in the Hawkeyes’ zone throughout the night.
It was an uncharacteristic outing for Iowa, which suffered its most lopsided loss since a 105-71 defeat at Notre Dame on Nov. 29, 2018. And considering the Hawkeyes’ season-long success, their best approach moving forward might be to treat this outing as an aberration.
“That’s what you want to do,” Bluder said. “You really have to because we’ve played well, and you don’t want one game to ever define a season, whether it’s a win or whether it’s a loss. We preach that to our players and we have to believe it and go do it ourselves.”
Czinano was just as eager to move her thoughts to Sunday’s home game against Wisconsin in the wake of the Hawkeyes’ poorest performance of the season.
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“We get in the gym tomorrow, we get into practice and we acknowledge we have a lot to work on,” Czinano said. “That’s what this shows. But I think tomorrow in practice you flush it, you watch film on our next game (against) Wisconsin and you move on.”