Hawkeyes follow up a major win with a major disappointment in blow out loss at home to Nebraska.
By Jordan Zuniga
If the Jan. 25 game against Ohio State was the biggest win for Iowa on the season, Sunday’s loss to Nebraska had to be the most disappointing. After a thrilling win over Ohio State, the 8,823 in Carver-Hawkeye had to swallow a disappointing 92-74 loss.
It’s tough to point to just one aspect of the game that was rough on the Hawkeyes, because it seemed as if everything went against them. Whether it was the poor shooting, being out-hustled on the boards, or just being on the unlucky side of some of Nebraska’s circus shots, Iowa didn’t stand much of a chance.
What was particularly hard for the Hawkeyes to overcome was their inability to hold on to the ball. In a stretch that spanned from 2:54 left in the first quarter to 6:51 left in the second, Nebraska dominated, going on a 23-2 run.
That stretch produced a plethora of Hawkeye turnovers that kept them from stopping the rolling Huskers. Nebraska wound up with a 30-point lead going into the half.
In a game that head coach Lisa Bluder described as a “bad dream,” Iowa finished by handing Nebraska 16 extra possessions, with each starter except for Chase Coley tallying numerous turnovers.
This isn’t a new problem for Iowa, which averaged 15.4 turnovers going into the game, but they seemed to hurt them a bit more than usual Sunday afternoon.
While much of the Hawkeye’s sloppy ball handling was self-inflicted, the Cornhuskers’ stellar defense also had a hand in the Hawkeyes’ troubles.
Nebraska forced Iowa to take tough, physical inside shots that the Hawkeyes found tough to nail at times, and the Huskers’ physicality was also the catalyst for turnovers, even if it wasn’t the main goal.
“It’s not a focus for us to create turnovers,” Nebraska head coach Amy Williams said. “We just wanted to things that we felt like were going to help us get defensive stops. It worked out that we were able to force a few turnovers that lead to some offense.”
Iowa’s mishaps certainly did create some extra scoring opportunities for Nebraska — 24 of its points came off Hawkeye turnovers.
This disappointing loss continues a rough patch for Iowa, which has lost five of its last seven and sits eighth in the Big Ten standings.
However, all is not lost. The team has shown great potential this season, so making sure not to dwell on the lows will be important for the Hawkeyes.
“Just making sure that our team knows that we can still do great things,” Megan Gustafson said. “We just beat the No. 12 team in the nation. Just remembering those highs but also learning from those bad lows.”