March 2, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- The University of Iowa women's basketball team had a short-lived appearance in this year's Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Trust Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The 3rd-seeded Hawkeyes fell to 6th-seeded and 24th-ranked Nebraska on Friday in the quarterfinal round, 80-68.
Senior Kamille Wahlin tallied 17 points, five assists and three steals. Freshman Samantha Logic scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists. Junior Morgan Johnson added 12 points and six blocks.
The Hawkeyes led by nine points with 17:28 left in the game after Senior Kelly Krei drilled a long 3-pointer. With the lead still in hand, Krei and Johnson tallied consecutive baskets that gave Iowa a 48-40 lead with 15:38 remaining. From that point on, Nebraska's tandem of Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore took the game over.
"We got up eight or nine and they just turned it on," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said of Nebraska. "They turned on the engines at that point, and really did a great job defensively and on the boards. Lindsey Moore and Jordan Hooper were outstanding in the second half."
Moore made back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Cornhuskers a 49-48 lead with 13:50 left to play. The Hawkeyes regained the lead on their next possession via a Melissa Dixon cutting layup. Trailing again, Wahlin stole the ball from a Nebraska player and went coast-to-coast for a layup to tie the game at 52 with 12:39 left. Iowa then fell victim to a 7-0 Nebraska spurt that was capped by another 3-pointer by Moore.
"They [Nebraska] just seemed to be a team that steps up at the right moments," Wahlin said. "We knew the run was coming in the second half. We knew in the locker room. We said `hey, we've got to continue to play hard and battle.' But we went cold from the field. And they're pushing it hard in transition, and it felt like déjà vu again. But it's just the way it goes."
Moore finished the game with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting and added six assists and five steals.
A Morgan Johnson layup brought Iowa to within three points at the 10:07 mark, but that was as close as the Hawkeyes got the rest of the way.
"I think that we lost some intensity on the defensive end," Iowa guard Samantha Logic said. "Lindsey Moore hit some big shots for them, and I think that kind of deflated us a little bit. But we can't let that happen."
Shortly after Johnson's basket, Hooper capped a 6-0 Nebraska run with a baseline jumper that increased the Huskers' lead to 67-57 with 6:58 left. The Hawkeyes were not able to recover from the Huskers' efficient second half offense. Hooper scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half and grabbed 10 rebounds. Nebraska's Emily Cady added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Nebraska began the game shooting well and the Iowa quickly found themselves trailing, 19-12, nine minutes into the game. However, the Hawkeyes started to pick up the pace offensively and soon stole the lead away from the Huskers. Morgan Johnson started the run with a low-post basket that cut the deficit to five points. A minute later, Wahlin hit a jumper from the free throw line and then stole a pass on Nebraska's next that led to a Logic layup in transition. Logic then capped the 8-0 run with a runner that gave the Hawkeyes a 20-19 lead with 8:31 left in the first half.
The teams traded the lead back and forth the next four minutes until Iowa's Melissa Dixon buried a long 3-pointer after a cross-court pass from Kalli Hansen. Wahlin came up with another steal on Nebraska's following possession, and this time Wahlin took it herself for the easy layup to give Iowa a 30-25 lead with 3:42 remaining until halftime.
With 3:01 left in the half, Logic nailed a 3-pointer that gave the Hawkeyes a 33-27 lead and Wahlin hit one a minute later that extended the lead to 36-28. Nebraska's Moore stole the ball from Wahlin near half court and made a 3-pointer as time expired in the half to make the halftime score 36-33. This proved to be a bad omen for the Hawkeyes.
"I think we have very good chances of making the tournament. We're in one of the toughest women's basketball conferences in America. We tied for second in that conference. We played well down the stretch. So I feel very good about our chances."
Iowa shot 26-of-63 (41.3 percent) from the field, including 7-of-22 from 3-point distance. Nebraska shot 29-of-63 (46 percent) from the field and 7-of-19 from 3-point range.
The loss drops Iowa to 19-11 overall while Nebraska improves their record to 23-7. This was Nebraska's third win over Iowa this season.
The Hawkeyes now await their postseason destiny. The NCAA Tournament field is selected on Monday, March 12.
"I think we have very good chances of making the tournament," Bluder said. "We're in one of the toughest women's basketball conferences in America. We tied for second in that conference. We played well down the stretch. So I feel very good about our chances."