Lisa Bluder breaks down Iowa’s big win over No. 13 Indiana Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — A solid Iowa contingency dodged the Sunday ice storm for a chance to see another glimpse of greatness inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. One ranked foe had already fallen earlier in the week, and here was a great chance to make it two. The Hawkeyes thrive behind their own support as well as anyone.
It’s been a journey on this riveting home winning streak, which covers part of three seasons and nearly two calendar years. There have been plenty of seesawing affairs like Sunday’s double-overtime thriller, a contest that tested mental fortitude and perseverance from all involved.
Buoyed by their people once again, Iowa has solidified itself among the Big Ten’s elite.
The Hawkeyes landed their second ranked win in four days, toppling No. 13 Indiana, 91-85, in double overtime, for the Hoosiers’ first Big Ten loss. The victory is Iowa’s 30th in a row at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and perhaps one of the more exciting ones. Questions about whether the Hawkeyes (13-3, 4-1 Big Ten Conference) are for real no longer linger.
"I know every team says they love their home crowd, but it's actually different here," senior Makenzie Meyer said. "I've never been to another Big Ten arena when it's been as loud as it gets in Carver.
"I hope our fans know that. It definitely helps."
The home crowd of 7,397 roared as Iowa put this one away on its senior shoulders. Kathleen Doyle poured in 30 points and Meyer added 17 — the duo accounted for 13 of Iowa’s 14 double-overtime points. A 6-0 run in the final minute put this one away. Monika Czinano added 23 points before fouling out. McKenna Warnock chipped in with 11.
It was a hard-earned conclusion to an exhausting Iowa day. As the final horn sounded, coach Lisa Bluder threw her hands up in the air as if to say, “finally, this one's over.”
"This was obviously a really important win for us, now and for March and for the Big Ten standings," Bluder said. "I'm just really proud of our women. We were down 14 points in the second quarter, and we just kept battling back and battling back.
"And then you're down six with three-and-a-half minutes to go in the game, and you come back and tie it up. These women were amazing. They just kept believing and kept the faith."
Before overtime, there were plenty of chaotic moments in a frantic regulation finish. It was only fitting after Iowa wiggled out of Indiana's grip in the second half, from down 14 to back ahead late in the third quarter.
First came Meyer’s trey with 1:18 remaining, which handed Iowa its first and only fourth-quarter lead, at 72-71. But back came an answer from Ali Patberg — followed by Jaelynn Penn’s free-throw split — and Indiana (14-3, 3-1) could smell a regulation victory. All it needed was one final stand with 10 seconds left.
Doyle wasn’t having it. She drove hard to the basket through traffic, fought off contact for a game-tying layup. The play’s only blemish came after Doyle missed the and-1 free throw. Iowa would’ve owned a 75-74 advantage and clinched a win after its last-second stop — but instead, overtime beckoned.
"My teammates did a great job of pulling me out of that and just pushing me forward into that overtime," Doyle said. "It was obviously disappointing to leave that one out there, but there's nothing you can do about it — just go play that next five minutes and get it done."
The first extra period ended in a 3-3 standstill. Iowa took control of the second behind its emphatic crowd and support.
Expect more of that in the coming weeks if this is the Hawkeye product we're going to consistently see.
"It was a good week-and-a-half," Bluder said. "It really was."
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.