Iowa women's basketball: Hawkeyes fall short at No. 10 Indiana

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

Rejuvenated after finally pulling a ranked upset, Iowa gave it another go Wednesday against the Big Ten's best. 

The Hawkeyes' quality road effort fell just short. 

A back-and-forth affair finally swung No. 10 Indiana's way in the fourth quarter, lifting the Hoosiers to an 89-80 win at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. This game followed a familiar Iowa script — tons of Caitlin Clark highlights but not quite enough juice to complete a stunner. 

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, right, drives to the basket as Indiana forward Aleksa Gulbe (10) and Indiana guard Ali Patberg (14) defend during a NCAA Big Ten Conference women's basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

Still, Iowa (14-8, 10-8 Big Ten Conference) fared better than its last Indiana matchup. The Hoosiers' 85-72 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 7 saw Indiana (17-4, 15-2) lead by double digits early, stumble a bit in the third and then regain footing for a strong fourth. The Hawkeyes had a better effort in the rematch.

Iowa led throughout most of the first half — and by as many as seven early in the third quarter — before Indiana ultimately gained control. A 5-0 spurt to end the quarter gave the Hoosiers a 65-59 advantage. The Hawkeyes climbed within four once in the fourth, but the final 10 minutes were mostly spent playing a futile game of catch-up.

Clark did all she could, splashing home 32 points on 11-for-18 shooting before fouling out with 2:50 left. But the Iowa defense didn't mirror its most recent outings. Indiana's terrorizing trio of Mackenzie Holmes, Grace Berger and Ali Patberg burned the Hawkeyes once again. 

After combining for 63 points in Iowa City, these three Hoosiers went a bit further Wednesday. Holmes, Berger and Patberg all poured in 22 points apiece, accounting for 25 of the Hoosiers' 34 field goals. Holmes was particularly impressive with just two misses on 13 attempts alongside 11 rebounds.

Their defensive effort on Monika Czinano was productive as well. Iowa's junior center had 20 points — four more than on Feb. 7 — but she needed 21 shots to get there. Indiana owned the paint again with a 56-38 scoring advantage. 

The Hawkeyes can still end the regular season strong before heading to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa hosts Nebraska at 7 p.m. Saturday for senior day.       

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 msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.