IOWA CITY, Ia. — The powder blue of North Carolina is pretty distinct, so it was odd to see the Iowa women’s basketball team pass the ball so often to the wrong team Sunday.
North Carolina used 25 Iowa turnovers to build a big lead and win the Preseason WNIT 77-64 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Their press, obviously, hurt us in the first half,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “They just took us out of it mentally with how hard it was for us to inbound the ball.
“They shook us mentally in that area.”
North Carolina (4-0) used full court pressure and denial defense on every inbound play to frustrate the Hawkeyes. The Tar Heels forced 15 turnovers in the first half, leading directly to 19 points.
“Some of it was their athleticism,” Iowa sophomore Sam Logic said. “Most of it, I think, was mental.
“Like coach said, timely turnovers, the timing of some passes, were not going the way we should’ve been doing things.”
When the Tar Heels weren’t frustrating the Hawkeyes with pressure, they were doing it on the offensive glass.
North Carolina had a 16-0 advantage in second-chance points in the first half, off nine offensive rebounds.
“We like to get after it defensively,” North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “We have a lot of things that take the other team out of their comfort zone. Our kids love to get after it and play defense.”
Iowa (3-1) led 8-5 early when Tierra Ruffin-Pratt hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 10-0 Tar Heels run.
The Hawkeyes never led again.
“Obviously, they are a very good defensive team,” Iowa senior Jaime Printy said. “They are long and quick and physical and athletic.
“But at the same time, this is a lot on us. A lot of the fault goes to us turning the ball over, not making smart enough decisions.”
North Carolina went into halftime on a three-quarter court bank by Ruffin-Pratt to make it 47-25.
“They came out and just played much harder than we did in the first half,” Bluder said. “Pretty much a miserable first half for us.”
Iowa outscored North Carolina 39-30 after the break, but could never cut the lead to single-digits.
“We can’t get big deficits like that and expect to dig ourselves out,” Bluder said.
Morgan Johnson finished with a double-double — 20 points and 11 rebounds. Printy, Logic and Melissa Dixon each scored 12 points.
Iowa was just 5-of-25 from 3-point range, stifling its comeback ability.
“I knew they had some kids who could really knock it down,” Hatchell said. “We did go zone a few times, just enough to get them out of rhythm.”
Xylina McDaniel had 15 points and 14 rebounds for North Carolina.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball