IOWA CITY, Iowa — There are 13 regular-season women’s basketball games left and University of Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder knows a lot can happen between the middle of January and the first of March.
But on Jan. 12 — after overcoming a 14-point second-quarter deficit — Bluder and her band of overachieving Hawkeyes outlasted No. 12/13 Indiana, 91-85 in double overtime, in front of 7,397 on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. That result elevates the Hawkeyes to the top of the Big Ten standings with a record of 13-3 overall, 4-1 in league play. Also sitting at 4-1 are Rutgers and Indiana (which fell to 14-3 overall with the loss to Iowa).
“First place sounds good to me, it never sounds bad,” Bluder said. “You certainly want it at the end of the year, but we will take it any time. There is a lot of basketball to be played and we know that.”
Iowa has won 30 straight home games.
Iowa trailed 34-20 midway through the second quarter. The Hawkeyes closed the first half on a 12-3 run and trailed 37-32 at the break. A layup in transition by freshman Gabbie Marshall with 3:18 left in the third period gave Iowa its first lead of the second half at 49-47. It was back-and-forth for the next 23 minutes.
The Hawkeyes shot 54 percent from the field and received double-figure scoring from senior Kathleen Doyle (31 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds), sophomore Monika Czinano (23 points), senior Makenzie Meyer (17), and freshman McKenna Warnock (11 points, seven rebounds). Senior Amanda Ollinger pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Not only did Meyer hit the go-ahead 3 in the second overtime, but 15 of her 17 points came in the second half or overtime periods.
Indiana was led by Jaelynn Penn’s 24 points and three 3-point field goals.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“This is obviously an important win for us now, for March and for the Big Ten standings. These women were amazing; they kept believing and they kept the faith.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa made 4 of 5 field goals and 5 of 6 free throws in the decisive second overtime. Meyer scored seven points and her 3-point field goal with 2:50 left gave the Hawkeyes the lead for good at 83-80. Doyle added six points, shooting a perfect 2 of 2 from the field and from the line.
In the past seven days, the Hawkeyes have defeated Northwestern, Maryland, and Indiana — three teams with a combined record of 39-9 overall, 10-4 in the Big Ten.
“It was a good week, it really was,” Bluder said. “Going to Northwestern and getting a win there and then winning two top-20 games on your home court. I can’t be more proud of these women and the leadership, effort, and focus we are getting every day.”
The Hawkeyes hit the road next week for games at Minnesota and Wisconsin. Iowa and the Gophers (11-5, 1-4) play Thursday with tip-off set for 7 p.m. (CT) in Williams Arena in Minneapolis. Minnesota lost at Illinois on Sunday, 74-71.
“It’s never easy on the road in the Big Ten,” Bluder said. “We know we have our work cut out for us this week.”