Iowa Women's Basketball

Iowa women's basketball: Defensive unit capitalizes on both ends in late run to beat Purdue

Hawkeyes use a 17-2 fourth-quarter surge to rally past Boilermakers, 87-81

IOWA CITY — Her team facing a six-point deficit entering the final stretch, Lisa Bluder put her best defensive team on the floor.

“What we had, it wasn’t working,” Bluder said.

But that closing unit made it click. On both ends.

McKenna Warnock and Monika Czinano combined for 13 points — and Tomi Taiwo ignited the defense — in a game-breaking 17-2 run to send Iowa past Purdue, 87-81, in a Big Ten women’s basketball contest Monday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“Coach Bluder made a good switch defensively,” Warnock said of the triangle-and-two scheme down the stretch. “A lot of props to Tomi. She played some lockdown defense. It was a really amazing job.”

Taiwo replaced freshman star Caitlin Clark on the floor during the pivotal run, joining starters Warnock, Czinano, Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall.

Iowa (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) flipped a 75-69 deficit (with 4:58 remaining) into an 86-77 advantage (with 0:38 left) and ended a two-game losing streak.

Warnock’s two free throws tied the game, 77-77, then Czinano located Warnock at the top of the key for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:35 remaining.

“Monika found me open for the kick-out,” Warnock said.

Taiwo had played sparingly in the Hawkeyes’ first 10 games, but has earned 25 minutes in the last two, and the Hawkeyes are plus-28 in those minutes.

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“She’s done a really good job defensively for us, and that’s why she’s in there, honestly,” Bluder said.

The Hawkeyes made 25 of 31 free throws, compared to 5 of 9 for Purdue (5-6, 2-5). Warnock was 7 of 9, Clark 8 of 12, Sharon Goodman 5 of 5.

“We didn’t get to the line as much as we’re used to (in a loss to Ohio State on Wednesday), so that was a focus,” Clark said. “Free throws are easy points. They’re free for a reason.”

Clark led the Hawkeyes with 26 points and nine rebounds, but committed six turnovers against four assists. Warnock made all five of her shots from the field and scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Czinano posted 12 points and nine boards.

Iowa used a 13-0 free throw advantage in the first half, and led 44-39 at intermission despite 12 turnovers. Down 21-17 after a quarter, the Hawkeyes struck for 27 points in the second.

Purdue rallied behind Madison Layden, who hit 6 of 7 attempts from long range in a 19-point performance. But the Hawkeyes clamped down when they had to.

“We had to keep the ball out of Layden’s hands, and slow the rest of them down,” Bluder said.

Fatou Diagne added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Boilermakers. Kayana Traylor scored 14.

With back-to-back losses behind them, and road games against Maryland (Thursday) and Rutgers (Sunday) ahead, this could have been a damaging loss for the Hawkeyes. But their comeback snapped the potential for a prolonged slump.

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“We were focused on this one,” Clark said. “We had to have a good showing to get us going again on the right track.”

IOWA 87, PURDUE 81

At Iowa City

PURDUE (81): Fatou Diagne 8-11 0-0 16, Karissa McLaughlin 4-9 0-0 9, Kayana Taylor 5-15 2-2 14, Tamara Farquhar 2-7 1-2 5, Madison Layden 6-7 1-2 19, Brooke Moore 4-11 0-0 9, Cassidy Hardin 0-1 0-0 0, Janelle Grant 0-5 0-0 0, RaShaya Kyle 3-5 1-3 7, Rokia Doumbia 0-0 0-0 0, Rickie Woltman 1-2 0-0 2, Ajah Stallings 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-73 5-9 81.

IOWA (87): McKenna Warnock 5-5 7-9 19, Monika Czinano 5-11 2-2 12, Kate Martin 3-6 0-0 7, Caitlin Clark 8-20 8-12 26, Gabbie Marshall 2-3 2-2 8, Megan Meyer 1-1 0-0 3, Sharon Goodman 1-1 5-5 7, Logan Cook 0-1 0-0 0, Tomi Taiwo 2-4 1-1 5, Lauren Jensen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-53 25-31 87.

Halftime: Iowa 44, Purdue 39. 3-point goals: Purdue 10-24 (McLaughlin 1-4, Traylor 2-7, Layden 6-7, Moore 1-3, Hardin 0-1, Grant 0-2), Iowa 8-18 (Warnock 2-2, Martin 1-2, Clark 2-9, Marshall 2-2, Meyer 1-1, Taiwo 0-1). Team fouls: Purdue 24, Iowa 13. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Purdue 32 (Diagne 10), Iowa 38 (Czinano, Clark 9). Assists: Purdue 18 (McLaughlin 7), Iowa 17 (Czinano 5). Steals: Purdue 7 (Diagne 3), Iowa 7 (Clark, Marshall 3). Turnovers: Purdue 10, Iowa 16.

Attendance: 293.

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

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