Nov. 23, 2012
Miami -- Three straight missed free throws in the final 26 seconds by the University of Iowa opened the door for host Florida International on Friday in the first round of the FIU Thanksgiving Classic at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
Panther point guard Jerica Coley slammed the door with a 3-point field goal with 18 seconds left and layup at the buzzer to stun the Hawkeyes, 66-65. Iowa led 43-30 with 16:48 remaining.
"You let them hang around, they're on their home court, and we let them hang around too much and let them get a lot of confidence," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said.
Jaime Printy paced the Hawkeyes (4-2 overall) with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists; Morgan Johnson added 14 points, six rebounds, and five blocked shots, setting the school record in blocks with 239. The old mark was held by Tangela Smith with 235 from 1994-98.
"It's hard to think about breaking a record after a loss like that," Johnson said. "I have always tried very hard to be a good defensive player, and I focus on blocking shots. It's an honor to hold a record like this at the University of Iowa."
"We're not very good against a zone right now and everybody knows it and everybody can see it on tape," Bluder said. "We'll expect to see it over and over again until we learn to defeat the zone."
The Hawkeyes led 34-25 at halftime behind nine points from Printy and eight from Johnson. Iowa scored the first eight points of the game, and made 14-of-32 field goals (43.8 percent) in the first half, compared to Florida International making 10-of-30 (33.3). The Hawkeyes went on a 14-2 run late in the half to grab a 31-19 lead. Iowa was ahead by 13 early in the second half before Coley made a 3-pointer to give the Panthers their first lead at 44-43.
With 61 seconds remaining, the Hawkeyes led by five points (62-57). Iowa was ahead 64-61 when Claire Till went to the line with 26.4 seconds left. She made the first free throw, and the Hawkeyes led by four, 65-61. After missing the second attempt, Coley sank a 3-point field goal with 18 seconds remaining.
Till returned to the line with 8.4 seconds left, but she couldn't convert. Coley went the length of the court and made a left-handed layup, sealing a dramatic and improbable victory for the Panthers.
The Hawkeyes were 10-of-13 from the line for the game, with all three misses coming in the final 26 seconds.
UI guard Samantha Logic added seven points, seven assists, and five rebounds; Till scored seven points with six rebounds.
Iowa takes on West Virginia on Sunday in the consolation game at noon (CT).
"This is tough one for us to bounce back from and this is going to test our character a lot," Bluder said. "We have one day to prepare for a very good opponent now. It is going to be a tough game and we're going to have to mentally challenge ourselves to get ready for this game."