Megan Gustafson describes the emotions in seeing her jersey retired. Hawk Central
With the way Iowa women’s basketball has rallied on the road this season, a double-digit second-half deficit didn’t feel too insurmountable. A Hawkeye run was bound to come at some point, even if it wasn't right away.
No. 19 Iowa did eventually get within single figures, but this was the Wolverines’ day Sunday afternoon at the Crisler Center. Michigan disrupted the Hawkeyes’ offensive flow, fouled out three of Iowa’s top weapons and closed things out for a 78-63 victory. The loss is the Hawkeyes’ first of 2020, snapping a nine-game winning streak.
Iowa (18-4, 9-2 Big Ten Conference) has climbed out of big holes, most recently at Wisconsin and Minnesota, but this was a different challenge. Michigan (14-7, 5-5), which has spent parts of this season ranked and entered with a 9-2 record at home, surged to a 22-11 first-quarter lead.
The Wolverines morphed that into a 37-25 intermission lead, then expanded that cushion into a 19-point lead midway through the third. It wasn’t until three minutes remained that Iowa finally got back within nine.
Not enough time for a rally.
Alexis Sevillian led Iowa with 15 points and got double-digit help from Kathleen Doyle (14), Makenzie Meyer (13) and Amanda Ollinger (10), but the Hawkeyes had just nine assists. Monika Czinano did return from the ankle injury that kept her sidelined at Penn State, but she, Doyle and Ollinger all ended the day fouled out.
That’s because Iowa couldn’t contain forward Naz Hillmon, who racked up 30 points and 10 rebounds on 14-for-19 shooting, as Michigan piled up 40 paint points and a 39-24 board advantage. Supplemental efforts from Amy Dilk (14 points) and Akienreh Johnson (11) didn’t hurt either.
Iowa wasn’t going to win every road showdown, but Sunday’s performance was an effort not seen from the Hawkeyes in some time. Iowa will look to get back on track Thursday against Nebraska.
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.