By JAMES ALLAN
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team’s first road contest of the season didn’t go as planned.
Northern Iowa improved to 4-0 and handed the Hawkeyes their first loss of the season with an 88-66 victory Sunday afternoon at the McLeod Center. The Panthers never trailed.
“Northern Iowa took control right away,” said head coach Lisa Bluder. “It was 21-12 (at the end of the first quarter) and that isn’t an insurmountable lead, but they were in control pretty much the whole game.”
UNI shot better than 50 percent from the field — 52.5 percent for the game — made 10 3-pointers and got 52 points of production from its bench. Iowa shot 35.4 percent and went just 5-of-16 from 3-point range.
“Our close outs weren’t good and we didn’t do a good job of defending the drive,” said senior Makenzie Meyer. “They took advantage of that.”
The Panthers made four first-quarter 3-pointers to surge to a 21-12 lead and built a 45-31 lead at the break after making 9-of-13 field goals in the second quarter. Iowa went 6-of-18 from the field in the second quarter and shot 34.5 percent over the first 20 minutes.
After falling behind by 20 midway through the third quarter, Iowa fought back to close to within 59-46 on an Amanda Ollinger layup and the score was 64-51 following a Kathleen Doyle three-point play with 1:36 left in the period.
The Panthers scored the final four points of the third quarter before putting the game away with a 20-7 run to start the fourth.
Meyer was the only Hawkeye to reach double figures, finishing with 14 points on a 4-of-16 effort from the field. Doyle scored nine points and Ollinger and redshirt freshman Kate Martin added eight points apiece.
Four UNI players reached double digits. Kam Finley scored 20 points, Abbey Gerrit netted 15, Kristina Cavey scored 14, and Nicole Kroeger added 13.
PLAY IOWA BASKETBALL
Iowa finished the game with just 11 assists on its 23 field goals for the game.
“We have to be more of a team,” said Bluder. “We only had 11 assists tonight; that’s not Iowa basketball. We are a team that needs to spread the wealth and pitch for the high percentage shots.”
QUOTING HEAD COACH LISA BLUDER
“Coming back we knew it was going to be a bit of a learning experience. Right now Kathleen and Makenzie are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They need to be able to relax and play a little freer instead of trying to carry this team.
“We have a lot of people playing minutes that weren’t last year, so it’s going to take time to gain that experience and confidence and understand how you go on the road.”
The Hawkeyes return to action Wednesday, hosting Princeton at 6:30 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.