So close but so far away, Iowa lost its fourth straight game on Monday, falling to Nebraska 76-75 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We’ve got to have wins now; no more close losses,” Iowa senior Morgan Johnson said. “We’re learning how important one more possession is, learning how important one game is.”
Iowa dropped to 16-9 and 5-6 in the Big Ten and has put itself on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
“I think we have some work to do,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I would like to see us win three more. That would solidify things; but I don’t know.”
Iowa has five more games left to close out the regular season, including Thursday at home against No. 8 Penn State and Sunday at No. 18 Purdue.
Then Iowa travels to Nebraska (18-6, 8-3) before closing out against Indiana (10-14, 1-10) and Northwestern (11-13, 3-8).
“Staying together as a team; it’s hard whenever you get down this far,” Johnson said. “We’re a team that’s more than capable. We can come back. We’re a good team. It’s just believing in that.”
This win was there for the taking. Despite trailing the entire game and trailing by 10 points, 72-62, with 3:04 left to play, the Hawkeyes rallied.
Melissa Dixon hit a 3-pointer, Printy hit a pair of foul shots, and then Samantha Logic stole the inbounds pass and hit a pair of foul shots to cut it to 72-69 with 1:33 to play.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Printy said. “We got down 12 and found a way to fight back. We haven’t done that in past games. It’s kind of been the opposite.
“I think we just have to keep fighting, keep believing in each other.”
The entire crowd believed that a 3-pointer from Printy was about to tie the game with 32 seconds left. It rolled around the rim and kicked out.
“I did (think it was going in),” Printy said. “It left my hand; it felt great.
“You can’t do anything about those except keep shooting.”
Nebraska’s Hailie Sample and Lindsey Moore each hit a pair of foul shots in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.
Dixon hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left and Theairra Taylor hit a 3-pointer with one second left, but the baskets only tightened the final margin.
Iowa now has gone 0-4 against Nebraska since the Huskers entered the league last year.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Printy said. “That’s the one team me and Morgan haven’t beaten here at Iowa. We get another shot. It’s a lot tougher on the road, but we do get another shot at them.
“We’ll be prepared.”
Nebraska started the game Monday prepared to shoot 3-pointers. They ended up hitting 10-of-23 for the game, after hitting 7-of-14 in the first half.
“We’re not afraid to shoot the three,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. “That’s never been a fear of ours.
“They gave us those shots; we shot it really well early.”
Emily Cady hit a 3-pointer on the first shot of the game for Nebraska. Jordan Hooper — who had 29 points to lead all scorers — then nailed an NBA-range 3-pointer and another one to put the Huskers ahead 11-2 right out of the gate.
“We came out with a bang, I thought,” Hooper said. “We started shooting and didn’t really stop the whole game.”
Iowa tied the game at 11-11 thanks to Printy and Johnson going on a 9-0 run together, but Hooper responded with a bucket.
Every time Iowa would rally and tighten the Husker lead, Nebraska had an answer on the offensive end.
“I thought we did a good job in this area,” Yori said. “We made a lot of plays when they started cutting into our lead. Every time they’d hit two baskets in a row, we’d come down and hit a big basket to maintain that 8-, 10-, 12-point margin. That was really good.”
Nebraska got back-to-back 3-pointers from Rachel Theriot and Cady to go into halftime up nine, 41-32.
“They shot very well from 3-point range,” Bluder said. “I need to look at film to see if more came against zone or player. Our closeouts in zone weren’t very aggressive.”
Five Huskers had two 3-pointers. Bluder thought it was the ones from Theriot and Brandi Jeffery — who only had five on the season coming in — that hurt the most.
“They had extra players hitting 3s that haven’t done that consistently all year for them,” Bluder said.
Iowa’s game plan of pounding it inside to Johnson worked fine. She had 19 points and 10 rebounds.
“It’s kind of bitter at this point,” Johnson said of her double-double. “As a senior, it doesn’t matter about stats. It matters about the team.
“It hurt even more when you did everything you could.”
Printy had 16 points and Taylor had 11 points for the Hawkeyes. Logic had eight points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball