By DARREN MILLER
LINCOLN, Neb. — It was one of those bizarre, box score nights Tuesday for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team.
The nationally ranked Hawkeyes (15-4 overall, 3-3 Big Ten) shot a higher percentage than Nebraska (13-6, 4-2) from the field and from the line, but fell, 74-65, in front of 3,667 in Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers had an edge with nine more 3-point field goals and six more made free throws.
Ironically, it was Iowa that held the upper hand by making 39.1 percent from the field (compared to 38.1 by Nebraska) and 64.7 percent from the line (compared to 48.6 by Nebraska). Still, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder was disappointed in her team’s shooting — especially since the Hawkeyes were 0 of 7 from distance.
“We have to start making some (3-point field goals),” Bluder said. “That will open it up even more inside. We can’t have Megan (Gustafson) scoring 29 (points) and Amanda (Ollinger) has a really nice game and she is second scorer with 12 points. We can’t have (just) two people (score) in double figures. We need other people to step up, play the game, and be confident in their shooting. We know they’re good shooters, they know they’re good shooters. We need to have more opportunities for other people to shoot the ball.”
For the 18th time this season, Gustafson posted a double-double with 29 points and 18 rebounds. Ollinger turned in perhaps the best game of her career, making 6 of 8 field goals for 12 points. She added eight rebounds. Both Gustafson and Ollinger fouled out in the fourth quarter.
The Hawkeyes held a 53-40 advantage on the boards, with Chase Coley pulling down nine to go with eight points. Kathleen Doyle scored eight points and handed out five assists.
Iowa led 8-1 just three minutes into the game. The Cornhuskers rallied to lead 37-28 at halftime. Nebraska extended its advantage to 15 points (47-32) in the third quarter, but the Hawkeyes used a 10-0 spurt and fought back to within 56-53 with 5:50 to play.
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
The Hawkeyes were 0 of 7 from 3-point range. In losses to Purdue and Nebraska, Iowa is a combined 3 of 23 from beyond the arc.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“We have to get our confidence back shooting the ball; that’s the fun part about basketball and that’s the fun part about practicing: going into the gym by yourself and imagining yourself in these pressure situations. To me, that’s the most enjoyable part of the game. We need to get that back, we need to get in the gym and get that confidence back as a shooting team, because we are a great shooting team.”
Prior to Tuesday’s outcome, Iowa had won five straight games against the Cornhuskers. The last time the Hawkeyes fell in Lincoln was 66-46 on Feb. 24, 2013.
Iowa remains on the road Sunday, taking on Minnesota (14-5, 3-3) at 3 p.m. (CT) in Williams Arena. The Gophers host Wisconsin on Thursday.
“I know Nebraska beat Minnesota at Minnesota, so obviously if you look at the two toughest teams this week, we probably have the toughest one over,” Bluder said. “I hate to say that because Minnesota can score at will. But they have three guards that play 40 minutes like we do. They can score like crazy, so we will have to bring our defensive savvy to this game.”