Trying to slow down No. 2 Notre Dame proved to be too difficult for Iowa on Tuesday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Notre Dame won 74-57, using a career-high 28 points from junior guard Kayla McBride – many coming at critical times — to keep the Hawkeyes at bay in front of 4,942 fans inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“They are just a great team and we had some trouble stopping them on defense,” Iowa senior Jaime Printy said. “They put up a lot of points. Everyone on their team can score.”
Notre Dame (33-1) advances to the Sweet 16 for the 11th time in the past 17 years under coach Muffet McGraw.
Iowa (21-13) missed on its chance to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996. The Hawkeyes couldn’t face down long odds, trying to become just the fourth 8 or 9 seed to in the history of the NCAA Tournament to upset a top seed in the second round.
Iowa had some big holes in its upset bid Tuesday. The Hawkeyes shot 0-for-11 from 3-point range. They also had 21 turnovers (to 15 for Notre Dame) and were outrebounded 45 to 36.
“For us to go 0 from the 3-point line is pretty unusual,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Turned the ball over too many times, gave up too many offensive rebounds (21), and you have to expect almost a near-perfect night to beat a team like Notre Dame, and we just didn’t’ have it tonight.”
It was the first time all season Iowa has had zero 3-pointer.
“We didn’t knock down a lot of shots,” Printy said. “No one was really on tonight. In order to even have a chance against such a good team, we were going to have to knock down shots.
Sophomore forward Bethany Doolittle led Iowa with 16 points – just the second time this season she’s led the Hawkeyes in scoring.
Senior guard Jaime Printy and junior guard Theairra Taylor each added 10 points for the Hawkeyes. Sophomore point guard Samantha Logic had nine points to go with nine rebounds and five assists.
Six-foot-6 Iowa senior center Morgan Johnson had seven points and five rebounds.
Along with McBride’s career effort, Notre Dame also had three other players in double figures, led by All-American Skylar Diggins with 16 points. She also had four rebounds and five assists.
Irish center Natalie Achonwa had 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Freshman Jewell Loyd added 14 points.
But it was McBride who was the biggest thorn in the side, scoring 24 points in the first half. She hit 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and seemed to have the answer early and often when Iowa (21-13) tried to cut the Notre Dame (33-1) lead to a manageable margin.
“I was really pleased with the 3-point shot,” McGraw said. “She’s more of a mid-range jump shooter. But she got to the rim a little bit, shot some threes and mixed it up offensively tonight.”
“She got loose for too many shots,” Bluder said, “especially in the zone, and she wasn’t shooting that great from 3-point range coming into this game.”
The Irish got out to a quick 17-6 lead in the first five minutes of the game.
When the Hawkeyes tried to cut into that double-digit lead, the Irish – and often McBride – responded.
Iowa had a 10-3 run with a pair of baskets by Theairra Taylor to cut it to 24-18, but Irish freshman Jewell Loyd came back with a tip-in to stop the rally.
Another 7-2 run by Iowa, with a 3-point play by Johnson on an offensive rebound to help make it 33-25, was stopped by a jumper from McBride.
Doolittle had two points in the paint, followed by an end-to-end drive, lay-up and one foul shot by Logic to cut it to 38-30 with 1:44 to half.
But McBride hit a 3-pointer, and then another – her third and fourth of the half – to help enable Notre Dame go into half up 12, 46-34.
Then, coming out of intermission, the Irish put together a 9-2 run to stretch their lead to 19, 57-38.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder called a time out with 16:46 to play to try and get things going the other way.
It never happened.
“Obviously we were looking to stop their runs and go on runs of our own,” Doolittle said. “But some of the time we couldn’t do that as well as we could have or should have, and they capitalized on that.”
Iowa had the lead cut to 15 with a pair of Printy free throws following a technical foul on Achonwa – part of a testy second half.
But McBride hit her final shot to spark a 8-0 run that put the game away. Notre Dame led 72-49 and Diggins had five points in that game-ending run.
In the final 4:30, Iowa outscored Notre Dame 8-2, but it just window dressing.
Iowa says goodbye to Printy and Johnson, who have each started for four years, and Trisha Nesbitt.
“That’s not going to be easy to fill, but I think we really have some good people to come back and build off of,” Logic said. “We work really hard all the time …. So we just have to keep that attitude and build on what we have.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball