IOWA CITY, Ia. — Every college basketball team learns something about itself once conference play is under way.
On Sunday, the Iowa women found out what happens when Morgan Johnson is allowed fewer scoring chances.
Michigan held the Hawkeye center to just seven shots — matching a season low — en route to a 68-64 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We watched some film on teams that have had success against her,” Wolverines coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “We really tried to play zone and find her right away, almost like a box-and-one.”
Johnson, a 6-foot-5 senior, finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Her teammates went a combined 19-of-55 (34.5 percent) as Iowa’s record dropped to 12-4 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten Conference.
“They were just clogging the paint,” Johnson said. “They were doing a really good job of being physical, making sure I wasn’t able to establish on the block offensively.”
The Hawkeyes shot well enough from the perimeter to stay within 35-30 at halftime, but Michigan (13-2, 2-0) built a 60-47 lead with 6:19 left in the second half.
Johnson, who began Sunday averaging 17.9 points, was held to four in the final 26 minutes.
“We just tried to limit her touches,” Barnes Arico said, “because we knew she was so important for their success.”
Jaime Printy, Iowa’s second-leading scorer with 14.3 points, was held to six on 2-of-14 shooting.
“We’ve seen zone on and off throughout the year,” Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder said. “So it’s not something that’s a shock to us.
“I think if we would have hit some of those shots early, it would have given us a little more confidence.”
Iowa trimmed the Wolverines’ margin to 64-62 with a minute remaining, but could not extend its seven-game winning streak.
Jenny Ryan stemmed the tied with two free throws for Michigan. Brenae Harris added another free throw with 31 seconds left, making the score 67-62.
Four Hawkeye players missed shots in the closing moments. Michigan shot 24-of-48 for the game.
“They’re patient with the ball,” Bluder said. “They work the shot clock. They understand you can’t score if they have the ball in their hands.”
Reserve guard Melissa Dixon led the Hawkeyes with 17 points. Samantha Logic contributed 16.
The Wolverines countered with Kate Thompson, a 6-4 guard, who hit 5-of-7 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 19 points.
Rachel Sheffer, who was averaging 12.3 points, led Michigan with 26.
“When you have a shooter like Kate, she draws so much attention,” Sheffer said. “Just being able to find an open area on the court… We really did that well.”
Johnson drew a lot of attention as well.
The Hawkeyes attempted passes into the post four times in the opening minutes of the second half. Only one resulted in a basket.
“We tried to get the ball to (Johnson),” Bluder said. “We had turnovers.
“I think that made us a little gun shy going inside. (Michigan) did a good job, too, of helping over and knocking the ball away.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball