By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There was a lot for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team to overcome Wednesday during a 77-75 overtime victory over defending Ivy League champion Princeton on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
There were a lot of heroes for the Hawkeyes who facilitated a successful comeback.
Perhaps the most obvious obstacle was a 13-point deficit in the second quarter. An 18-10 run in the third — led by Amanda Ollinger’s six points, five rebounds, and 3 of 3 shooting from the field — got the Hawkeyes back in the game. A layup by Ollinger with 2:08 left in the third tied it, 45-45.
Sophomore center Monika Czinano fouled out after playing only 19 of the 45 minutes. She scored 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting.
Then, with 0.8 seconds left in regulation and Iowa leading, 67-64, Princeton’s Julia Cunningham heaved a 3-point attempt that beat the buzzer and went through the net.
“That can be hard to overcome sometimes,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.
With Iowa trailing, 73-67, with 2:08 left in overtime, senior Makenzie Meyer made a 3-point field goal off an assist from senior Kathleen Doyle. Two free throws by Meyer with 50 seconds remaining gave the Hawkeyes a lead for good. Junior Alexis Sevillian came up with a steal with less than 30 seconds to play.
“We had been down the whole night, so we were ready to throw another punch,” Meyer said. “We drew up a play and executed it perfectly. Kathleen gave me a pass for a wide-open 3 and that was exactly what we were looking for. Luckily, I was able to knock it down.”
Iowa improves to 3-1 overall; it is the first loss of the season for Princeton (4-1).
Doyle scored 21 points with nine assists and seven rebounds; she was 10 of 12 from the line. Meyer was 5 of 10 from distance, finishing with 19 points and seven rebounds. Ollinger added eight points, three assists, and two blocked shots to her game-high 13 rebounds. She was the only Hawkeye to play more than 41 minutes.
It was Ollinger who did the bulk of defending on Princeton power forward Bella Alarie, who scored a game-high 26 points. Don’t be fooled, the Hawkeyes made Alarie work for everything.
“Everyone knows (Alarie is) bigger than me, so the only thing I could do was beat her to the spot, be in the correct position at all times, and make the shots she took hard,” Ollinger said. “As a team, we made her take tough shots, it wasn’t just me. It was a team effort digging in on the help side.”
Iowa held an edge on the boards, 47-35, with 10 offensive rebounds.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“This was a great rebound win for us. Coming out of Sunday (an 88-66 loss at Northern Iowa), we kind of had our tail between our legs. We came out (against Princeton) and kept believing. We overcame a lot.
“You love to learn lessons, but it’s even more fun when you learn them when you win; it’s painful when you learn them when you lose.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
The Hawkeyes sank 19 of 25 free throws against Princeton after making just 15 of 27 at Northern Iowa on Nov. 17. The Tigers attempted 13 fewer free throws than Iowa, making eight.
“We know we’re a good free-throw shooting team,” Bluder said.
Iowa’s winning streak on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena reached 24. The last loss for the Hawkeyes at home was against Nebraska on Jan. 28, 2018 (92-74).
The Hawkeyes have a week off before playing Cincinnati on Nov. 27 in the Puerto Rico Clasico in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Bearcats are 3-2 after winning their last two games over Ball State and Tennessee-Chattanooga. Tip-off is 2:30 p.m. (CT).