Lack Of Poise Leads To The End Of Hawkeyes’ Home Winning Streak

By John Bohnenkamp

The lineup that was on the floor for the final 2 minutes, 39 seconds of overtime in Iowa’s 84-82 loss against Ohio State on Wednesday afternoon hadn’t been around for a lot of the Hawkeyes’ 42-game home winning streak.

The point guard, Caitlin Clark, is a freshman.

McKenna Warnock and Gabbie Marshall are sophomores. Kate Martin is a redshirt sophomore. Logan Cook is a junior who had played just 148 minutes in her first two seasons.

Winning streaks last a long time for a lot of reasons, but poise and patience play a big part in those victories, and the Hawkeyes had neither when they needed it.

“We just gave away a game we should have had,” Clark said.

The Hawkeyes (8-3 overall, 4-3 Big Ten) had a chance to knock off the 15th-ranked Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0).

They had a 12-point lead at halftime. They led by five going into the fourth quarter. Clark had shots in the final seconds of the fourth quarter and at the end of overtime, and missed them both.

But Clark, and the rest of the Hawkeyes, knew they had missed plenty of opportunities.

“It really shouldn’t have gotten to that point,” she said.

You remember the points you squander in a game like this. The Hawkeyes committed 18 turnovers that led to 26 points for the Buckeyes. They were 15-of-24 in free throws, 5-of-10 in the fourth quarter.

“It’s hard to win a basketball game when that happens,” Clark said.

“I’m disappointed,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I thought we had an opportunity to win this game.”

Iowa had six turnovers in the fourth quarter, two in overtime.

“I think, coming off that, we have to learn how to relax in scary situations,” Warnock said. “Which is difficult when we have mainly sophomores playing, and a freshman point guard. I think it’s something we’ll learn as time goes on. But that was kind of our downfall at the end.”

That lack of poise was something Bluder lamented.

“Make the safe pass versus the home-run pass,” she said. “I feel like we’re trying to make home-run plays a lot. You want home-run plays at the end of shot clocks, and that sort of thing. You don’t want home-run plays all of the time.”

The last time the Hawkeyes lost at home was January 28, 2018, a 92-74 loss to Nebraska. The only two players on Iowa’s current roster who played in that game were Alexis Sevillian and Zion Sanders, and neither played in this game.

Bluder said the winning streak, which was the second longest active streak in women’s basketball, was never a part of the conversation with the current Hawkeyes.

“Most of these players weren’t even a part of that, right?” Bluder said. “For us coaches, it was significant because it had been almost three years since we lost at Carver.”

The Hawkeyes tied the game at 72 in the fourth quarter on a free throw by Martin, and got the ball back with 34 seconds after a turnover by Ohio State’s Madison Green. But Clark shot with 20 seconds to go, and missed. That gave the ball back to the Buckeyes, but Jacy Sheldon missed a buzzer-beating shot.

“We basically had to play defense for 14 seconds,” Bluder said. “We fortunately got out of that.”

Clark admitted she took a quick shot.

“That’s on me,” she said.

Ohio State had a chance to put more pressure on the Hawkeyes in the closing seconds of overtime, but Greene missed the second of two free throws. The only shot Iowa got, though, was a Clark fadeaway 3-pointer with one second left that missed.

“Those are tough shots,” said Clark, who finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds. “Sometimes you make them, sometimes you miss them. You’re not going to make them all.”

The streak was gone, and an opportunity was lost.

“We kind of just gave a game away that could have been a huge win for us,” Clark said.

The Hawkeyes play host to Purdue on Monday.

“We’ll start a new (streak) on Monday night,” Bluder said. “That’s all we can do.”

Photo: Iowa’s Kate Martin is pressured by Ohio State’s Jacy Shelton in Wednesday’s game. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

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