By Sean Bock
It was that kind of day for Iowa.
The largest crowd of the year was on tap Sunday for the Hawkeyes’ matchup against Nebraska in Carver-Hawkeye, but they didn’t witness the prettiest outcome.
The Hawkeyes had a 12-11 lead with 2:50 left in the first quarter, but the Huskers used a 25-1 run extending throughout a good portion of the second quarter to break out to a 92-74 win. Sunday afternoon.
Coming off a huge win over No. 12 Ohio State on Jan. 26, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder and her squad were shell-shocked after their brutal loss at the hands of the Huskers.
“It was one of those games,” Bluder said. “It was like a bad dream, and you couldn’t get out of it.”
Megan Gustafson paced the Hawkeyes with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Kathleen Doyle finished with 16 points and 4 assists. Gustafson and Doyle were the only two Hawkeyes to score in double figures.
Nothing went Hawkeyes’ way throughout the game, especially during Nebraska’s huge run.
As the Huskers were in the midst of taking control of the game, guard Janay Morton rose up from 30 feet and banked in the 3 to put her team up 10 and give Nebraska the momentum going into the second quarter.
“It hasn’t happened here at Nebraska since I’ve been here,” Huskers head coach Amy Williams said about her team’s run. “It’s the best our group has played since I’ve been here at Nebraska.”
One word describes Nebraska’s offense on Sunday: balance.
The Huskers had four players score in double figures: Maddie Simon (19), Hannah Whitish (16), and Morton and Jasmine Cincore each chipped in 13.
A common trend all year for the Hawkeyes has been turnovers. Despite forcing 21 Nebraska giveaways, Iowa coughed up the ball 16 times, many of which came during the Huskers’ colossal run.
“I can’t even explain the performance we gave in the first half,” Bluder said. “Obviously, we struggled on both ends of the court. It felt like everything was going Nebraska’s way and every call was going Nebraska’s way.”
Iowa showed plenty of tenacity in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Huskers, 31-15, in the frame and doing everything to make the game closer than the scoreboard indicated.
One of the best 3-point shooting teams in the nation in nonconference play, the Hawkeyes haven’t been able to find much luck from behind the arc recently; they connected on only of their 12 3-point attempts.
The trio of Doyle, Makenzie Meyer, and Alexis Sevillian — considered Iowa’s best 3-point shooters — were 1-of-9 from 3-point land and didn’t have much luck finding a clear look all afternoon.
“We didn’t stop fighting,” Bluder said. “That’s what I would expect out of my players. But it’s athletics — the highs and the lows — and that’s what we experienced from Thursday to Sunday.”
Iowa (16-6, 4-5 Big Ten) will try to regroup when they travel to East Lansing on Feb. 1 for a matchup with a tough Michigan State squad, which is 7-2 at the Breslin Center this winter.
“Our leadership is there, but we need to keep that going,” Gustafson said. “Having that leadership and making sure the teams know we can still do great things. Just remembering those good highs and learning from those lows.”