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Iowa Basketball: Bluder 'embarrassed' of effort in loss to Spartans

Iowa junior center Bethany Doolittle had 21 points against Michigan State on Thursday night but the Hawkeye women lost 88-72 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
University of Iowa

Adult tickets were just $1 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the Iowa women’s basketball game against Michigan State on Thursday night.

But Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said her Hawkeyes failed to even give the fans a dollar’s worth of entertainment during an 88-72 loss that saw the Spartans dominate the boards and hit 9-of-14 from 3-point range.

Michigan State stayed unbeaten in the Big Ten Conference thanks to five players scoring in double figures. The Spartans used an 11-0 run to pull away in the first half and then put the game away for good with another 11-0 run late in the second half. The visitors led by as many as 29 before cruising to 4-0 in league play.

“I need to apologize to our fans that came out tonight,” Bluder said. “We had 4,200 people here and did not give them a dollar's worth of entertainment on buck night.

“I'm extremely disappointed in the way we played this game, especially the first half. It was embarrassing to get down that much on our home court against a good team.”

Aerial Powers had 20 points and eight rebounds, Annalise Pickrel added 16 points, four 3-pointers and nine rebounds and Tori Jankoska was perfect from behind the 3-point line and finished with 19 points off the bench for the Spartans (12-5, 4-0).

Iowa’s Bethany Doolittle kept the Hawkeyes in the game early, but the home team was no match for the Spartans inside, on the perimeter or anywhere on the floor.

“I thought Michigan State did a great job,” Bluder said. “They've got a very quick team, excellent shooters. They defend hard. They play with a lot of emotion. They play hard. They're an excellent basketball team, and we can learn a lot from them.”

Michigan State out-rebounded 24-11 in the first half and also had a 20-12 advantage in the paint and a 10-0 advantage in second-chance points.

The Spartans turned a tight 15-12 game into a 27-16 advantage with a 12-4 spurt and then really took control with an 11-0 run that featured seven straight points from Jankoska.

Jankoska was involved in the other 11-0 run by the Spartans in the second half. She buried back-to-back 3-pointers during the spurt to push the lead to 24. Michigan State led by as many as 29 in the game despite turning the ball over 21 times.

“Obviously at home sometimes you can get yourselves out of those holes, but they're a good team, and again, we didn't shoot the ball well,” Bluder said. “If you want to beat a good team, you've got to shoot free throws well, you've got to make lay ups. There's such a small margin of error when you're playing against a very good basketball team.”

Doolittle did her best to keep Iowa close in the first half. She had 13 of her 21 in the first 20 minutes and also had four blocks in the loss.
Ten of Logic’s 13 points were in the second half and she also finished with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. Ally Disterhoft scored 12 points off the bench, while Theairra Taylor added nine and Alexa Kastanek chipped in eight.

But Iowa was just 1-of-13 from 3-point range and scored just two points in transition.

“I think we were suffering in all areas tonight, rebounds, defense, offense,” said Bluder. “It was just the whole picture.

“We were making crazy passes, passes to the green jerseys. We were just making hope passes out there instead of making logical, good basketball decisions, and we just dug ourselves a big hole.”

Bluder said her Hawkeyes will watch the film from the loss and hopefully learn from it. But she doesn’t believe in just moving on to the next game.

“I think if you're a competitor, it's got to really tick you off,” she said. “That's what drives you. If it doesn't hurt, you're not learning anything from it. If you don't watch this film and learn from it, then it's a complete waste of time.”

Klarissa Bell also had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Spartans, while Kiana Johnson had 10 points and eight assists. The Spartans came into the game with four players averaging in double-figures and a fifth at nine points per game.

Iowa won’t have long to prepare for its next game. The Hawkeyes will have travel to Ohio State on Sunday. Tip-off against the Buckeyes (12-8, 2-2) will be at 2 p.m.

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