Early last week, the Iowa women’s basketball team got up to No. 14 in the country by the Associated Press.
Then the Hawkeyes picked a bad time to struggle on offense.
Iowa shot under 40 percent earlier this week in a loss at Penn State to open Big Ten Conference play and then dropped to 0-2 in league play Sunday following another poor shooting performance.
The Hawks shot 29 percent from the field and made just 6-of-28 from long range in a 60-53 loss at home against Michigan. Iowa also made just 9-of-16 from the line.
“This was a tough one for us,” Iowa women’s head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We couldn’t buy a bucket. We did a lot of things well at the other end, but if you can’t score points it’s hard to win a basketball game, and today we couldn’t score points.
“I really didn’t see this coming. We had two really good practices coming into the game.”
The good news — if there is any — is that poor shooting usually makes its way back the other way when it involves good teams. Even good teams have off nights. However, Iowa cannot afford to have many more off nights if it wants to compete for a Big Ten championship.
“The next game for us is extremely important,” Bluder said. “You don’t want to start 0-2 in the league. But we need to feel what it’s like to win again. Especially with Ohio State coming in that next game.”
Sophomore Jaime Printy led the Hawks with 18 points, but she was just 6-of-25 from the floor and 4-of-15 from long range. She also added five rebounds.
“I think we need to just be more confident,” Printy said. “We need to get into the gym on our off days and get more shots up. The (3-point shot) is a big part of our offense. We can’t just stop shooting. We’ve got to keep shooting. Eventually, they will fall.”
Morgan Johnson added 13 points and seven rebounds, while Kachine Alexander had nine points and 15 boards. Kamille Wahlin only played 22 minutes and was just 1-of-11 from the field for two points.
“Nothing was wrong with her physically, she just wasn’t contributing,” said Bluder about Wahlin’s lack of playing time. “We felt like she was hurting us, so we went with a different lineup.”
Michigan led by five at halftime in Carver Hawkeye Arena. But the only stat category that the Wolverines really won on the day was the shooting percentage. Iowa had more rebounds and only turned the ball over 12 times. The Wolverines just made 40 percent of their shots and hit 16-of-19 from the foul line.
Courtney Boylan had 18 points and five boards to lead Michigan (9-5), while added 15 points and five rebounds. Veronica Hicks had 11 points as well.
Iowa will have to regroup fast to stay in the Big Ten Conference title race. The Gophers are next up on Wednesday for the 12-3 Hawks, who should expect to drop outside the top 20 in the rankings this week.
“We went through tough stretch last year,” Printy said. “I think we’ll stay positive, and as long as we stick together as a team, and know and believe in ourselves, I think we’ll be just fine.”