INDIANAPOLIS — Three games in a 72-hour span certainly makes the Big Ten Tournament a busy time for Iowa players.
Perhaps the busiest person in black and gold in Indianapolis this week has been assistant coach Jenni Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald was responsible for the scouting reports for each of the Hawkeyes’ first two tournament opponents — Illinois and Purdue — and is also the lead scout on Iowa’s semifinal opponent, Ohio State.
The Iowa coaching staff distributes scouting reports for opponents at the beginning of the season and the way it worked out, the teams that Fitzgerald was responsible for scouting matched up with the Hawkeyes in Indianapolis.
“That is going to happen because she has about two-thirds of our scouts, because Jenni is really good at it,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I mean, she is excellent at watching film. She is efficient at doing it because she has done it for a long time now, and she has a really good system.”
That made a busy time even busier for the 14-year Hawkeye assistant coach who watched Ohio State defeat top-seed Penn State from the stands along with associate coach Jan Jensen.
Fitzgerald’s latest assignment is to find a way to slow down Ohio State and sophomore Ameryst Alston.
Alston scored 33 points in the Buckeyes’ 99-82 upset of top-seeded Penn State on Friday and is averaging 31.5 points in two tournament games.
Ohio State (17-17) shot 72 percent in the first half against Penn State and 62 percent for the game.
The Buckeyes made 10-of-18 3-pointers Friday, five by Alston and four by Cait Craft, who finished with 24 points.
“I have great assistant coaches that have prepared us and I’ll meet with them right after this. But I do know that Ohio State shot the 3 really well in this tournament, extremely well,” Bluder said. “So we’re going to have to get out and cover their 3-point shooters.”
Iowa isn’t unfamiliar with Ohio State.
The Hawkeyes beat the Buckeyes twice this season, 81-74 in Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 19 and 65-61 on Feb. 27 in Iowa City.
Iowa, which is making its first Big Ten Tournament semifinal appearance since 2010, won’t take the Buckeyes lightly.
“That’s how it is in the Big Ten. There are no easy games,” Iowa senior Theairra Taylor said. “They are a good team. They looked really good today, so we need to start preparing for them as soon as possible.”