The Iowa women’s basketball team continued to have trouble on the glass Sunday during the championship game of the Hawkeye Challenge at Carver Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes scored 90 points in Saturday’s win but struggled on the boards and with parts of their defense against Harvard. Sunday, Iowa played better defense but got blasted on the boards, losing the rebounding battle 49-29.
That effort on the glass resulted in a 69-59 loss to the UNLV Running Rebels, certainly a disappointing loss at this point in the season.
“Rebounding continues to be a sore subject for us. They have 20 more rebounds than we do. I don’t know who you’re going to beat giving up 20 rebounds to,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “So we’ve got some work to do, and it’s not just the defensive end of boxing out, it’s the offensive end. We’re getting about 25 percent of offensive rebounds and they’re getting 50 percent of offensive rebounds, so it’s both ends that we have to do a better job on the boards.”
Iowa led 31-30 at halftime but had to rally to get it to that point. UNLV held a 23-10 advantage in the first 20 minutes before the Hawkeyes got things on track.
The second half saw Iowa push out to a 37-30 lead just two minutes in and then Iowa led 49-41 with 12:50 to play.
After that it was all UNLV as the Running Rebels grabbed a 53-52 lead with just less than eight minutes to play following a 12-3 run. The UNLV spurt wound up being a 21-5 advantage as the lead grew to 62-54 with 1:26 left in the game.
During that stretch, the Hawkeyes went 0-for-9 from the field and turned it over six times.
“We just didn’t play well those nine minutes and you just have to overcome that in the game and it’s going to happen, but I also think we need to shoot the ball better, and we’re not going to win games if we don’t shoot the ball better,” Iowa junior guard Jaime Printy said.
For the Hawkeyes, Printy once again led the way with 25 points, five rebounds and four assists. Senior Kamille Wahlin got on track offensively with 15 points — 11 in the first half — and three assists, but junior center Morgan Johnson was held scoreless in 23 minutes.
Printy and Iowa’s fantastic true freshman Samantha Logic committed 12 of Iowa’s 16 turnovers in the game.
UNLV was led by Kelli Thompson’s game-high 26 points, but it was the play of Sandrine Nzeukou and Jamie Smith that led the Running Rebels to the upset road win. Nzeukou finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Smith added 12 points and 17 boards.
“I want to congratulate UNLV on their championship,” Bluder said. “They did a great job coming back.”
UNLV shot 40 percent from the floor and made 15 free throws. Iowa shot just 32 percent from the field and was 10-for-10 from the line. The Hawkeyes hit just 7-of-27 from long range. The game featured three ties and seven lead changes.
Iowa is now 1-1 after the loss. UNLV moves to 2-0 on the young season. The Hawkeye women next play Albany at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“We just have to learn from it,” Printy said. “It’s early in the season, and we have a lot of upper classmen that can lead this team, and we just need to learn from our mistakes like coach said and come ready to go on Tuesday.”