By RICK BROWN
DES MOINES, Iowa — The University of Iowa’s dominance over Drake in women’s basketball came to an end Sunday at the Knapp Center.
“I think you saw a young team from Iowa come in here and kind of get its tail whipped,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said after an 81-76 loss to the Bulldogs. “That’s exactly what happened.”
Iowa had won 14 consecutive games in the series, a remarkable streak that went back to the 2001-02 season. Sunday also denied the Hawkeyes a sweep of the state. Iowa had taken care of Northern Iowa (88-39) and Iowa State (88-76) earlier this season.
It was also the first victory for Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk over her former coach and alma mater. She was a three-time captain for the Hawkeyes under Bluder and played on three NCAA Tournament teams.
“Today was a big win for us,” Baranczyk said. “And I think it’s a big win because one, it’s taken a long time to get here. But the second piece is that it was a complete and total team effort.”
Baranczyk downplayed the emotional aspect of facing her former school and former coach.
“I think we’re both really good teams,” Baranczyk said. “We have a lot of respect for each other. I think this game means more than a coach playing against a former player. This is about Drake, and it’s about Iowa.”
Iowa, dropping to 8-4, got 24 points from Ally Disterhoft and 20 points and 11 rebounds from center Megan Gustafson, who made 10-of-14 shots from the field. It was the 16th double-double of the sophomore’s career. Disterhoft and Gustafson have scored in double figures every game this season.
Bluder wishes the Hawkeyes would have looked to Gustafson even more during the game.
“I don’t know why (they didn’t),” Bluder said. “Because why go away from the well when it’s giving you water?”
Disterhoft and Gustafson combined to make 18-of-29 shots from the field. The rest of the team was 10-of-36. The Hawkeyes shot 43.1 percent from the field, including 7-of-23 (30.4 percent) from 3. Entering the game, Iowa had been shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from 3.
“I’ve got to be patient with them,” Bluder said of her team. “Obviously they lost a little bit of their swagger outside of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we’ve been shooting it. But again, I thought Drake came out with more intensity, more focus. And they executed very well on offense.”
While two players carried the offensive load for the Hawkeyes, Drake had four players score in double figures. Point guard Caitlin Ingle finished with 20 points and seven assists to three turnovers. Lizzy Wendell added 15 points, Becca Hittner 14, and Becca Jonas 12.
One statistic that wasn’t reflected in the boxscore was 50-50 balls. Drake seemed to get a majority of those.
“That’s frustrating, because that’s hustle, heart and determination,” Bluder said. “I think they had a little more moxie there than we did.”
Drake went on a 14-2 run in the first quarter to take a 21-9 lead. Iowa played catch-up the rest of the way.
“Basketball is a game of runs.” Disterhoft said. “When you go back and fourth the entire game and you’re down it can be tough and a little bit challenging. But you’ve got to try and stay together. Whenever we put some points together, they would respond. You have to give them credit for that.”
Iowa got within three points in the second quarter and trailed at halftime, 38-33.
The Hawkeyes got within three points twice in the third quarter, before Drake pushed its lead to 59-52 with a quarter remaining.
Iowa trailed, 75-62, with 4:23 to go. But again the Hawkeyes rallied, getting to within 77-74 with :30 left. After Drake made 1-of-2 free throws on its next possession, Iowa’s Tania Davis missed a 3-pointer with :21 left that would have cut the deficit to a single point. Drake made 3-of-4 free throws after that to put an end to Iowa’s winning streak.
“We couldn’t get it going in the first quarter,” Bluder said. “They just took it to us. After that it was pretty fair game.”
The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to play their final nonconference game Tuesday at 5 p.m. (CT) against Kent State. Then comes the start of Big Ten play Dec. 28 at Illinois.