By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Some things are worth the wait.
It took 35 minutes and 17 seconds before the “Delivery of the Game” on Thursday between Ohio State and 19th-ranked University of Iowa in front of 6,490 on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. With the shot clock down to :02, Hawkeye senior Kathleen Doyle — with her back to the basket — bounced a no-look pass to senior Amanda Ollinger, who easily made a layup. It put Iowa up by four points and Ohio State called timeout.
The Hawkeyes went on to win their seven straight game, 77-68. It is their 31st straight home win.
Still, as the new saying goes, it’s never over until Doyle flexes.
The first-team All-Big Ten point guard scored the next eight points for the Hawkeyes, then, with 49 seconds remaining, drove the lane, made a layup, and was fouled for the eighth time. Before Doyle completed the traditional three-point play to put Iowa ahead, 75-66, she sat on the baseline and flexed her biceps toward Iowa’s bench.
“If I wasn’t in full adrenaline, I probably wouldn’t do that,” Doyle said. “It’s a little embarrassing after the fact. I get so excited and it’s fun to celebrate with my team. It just happened.”
Win No. 16 happened for the Hawkeyes, too. It was also comeback win No. 4 in a row. Iowa shares the conference lead at 16-3 overall, 7-1 in the Big Ten.
“It’s a lot better than what we have been doing,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said, referring to the Hawkeyes trailing by two after the first quarter and four at halftime. “We were focused right from the beginning; I liked where we were sitting a lot better than where we had been at (other) halftimes.”
Doyle led all scorers with 26 points, 13 coming in the fourth quarter. Senior Makenzie Meyer (19) and sophomore Monika Czinano (12) also scored in double figures. Of Iowa’s 41 rebounds, Doyle and Ollinger had eight apiece and Meyer added seven. Doyle led the way with seven assists and Ollinger blocked four shots.
Iowa shot 48.1 percent from the field (26 of 54), but more importantly, held Ohio State in check, especially in the second half. The Buckeyes made 35 percent of their field goals, but they were just 10 of 38 (26.3 percent) in the second half (1 of 15 from 3-point range).
Ohio State (11-8, 4-4) received 22 points and 16 rebounds from Dorka Juhasz.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“This was a good win against a talented, big, and athletic Ohio State team. I’m thrilled with this victory. We did a good job of locating shooters — they only scored one 3 in the second half — and we finally out-rebounded somebody (41-37), that was nice to see.
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa was plus-4 in rebounding, snapping a string of four consecutive games where the Hawkeyes were out-rebounded. The last time Iowa held an advantage on the boards was at Northwestern on Jan. 5 (plus-13).
With Thursday’s result, Bluder has won 200 regular season Big Ten games, making her the second coach to reach that milestone in the Big Ten. Vivian Stringer, who coached at Iowa and now Rutgers, was the first to do so during the 2018-19 season.
The Hawkeyes remain home Sunday against Michigan State (11-8, 4-4); tip-off is 3 p.m. (CT). The Spartans lost at home to Northwestern on Thursday, 76-48. Sunday will be Girl Scout Day and the Go Red for Women game. Iowa great Megan Gustafson will have her No. 10 jersey officially retired after the contest.
OHIO STATE-IOWA PHOTO GALLERY