Unable to recover from early deficit, Rutgers falls to Hawkeyes in Iowa City
The Rutgers women’s basketball team has made a habit of starting off games well this season. Thursday night against Iowa, that was anything but the truth.
A blistering start by the Hawkeyes (14-8, 5-4) proved to be too much for the Scarlet Knights (6-17, 3-7) to overcome, as they fell by a score of 71-57.
Iowa scored the first 9 points of the game and eventually jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the first seven minutes of action. The Knights put up 18 points in the second quarter and found themselves down by just 9 at halftime, attempting to chip away at the large lead the Hawkeyes had spotted themselves early on.
The third quarter has been an achilles heel for Rutgers this season, as that is when opponents come out of the locker room and dominate the Knights. But despite giving up 19 points to Iowa, they put in 20 of their own, including a coast-to-coast layup by junior wing Kandiss Barber that fell through just as the buzzer sounded.
In the fourth quarter, the Knights kept trying to chip away and get themselves back in the game, but Iowa held on.
Rutgers actually made more shots than Iowa, as the glaring difference in the game was free throws.
Rutgers only made it to the line twice, with Barber missing both her first time before making both her next trip to the line. Iowa, on the other hand was 20-26 at the line with the Hawkeyes 20-2 advantage in free throws being the difference in a 14-point game.
It's the second consecutive game the Knights have struggled to even get to the free throw line, let alone make them. After Rutgers’ previous game, a loss to Northwestern, sophomore forward Aliyah Jeune addressed the issue.
“We made an agreement before the game that we would get to the free throw line and we didn’t really accomplish that,” she said.
One of the few good things the Knights did the first time they faced off against Iowa was limit guard Ally Disterhoft to just 6 points total. On Thursday night, she scored 7 of the Hawkeyes’ first 13 points and was half of a dynamic duo that Rutgers simply had no answer for.
The other half of that duo was center Megan Gustafson. The two combined for an astounding 45 points and also contributed 21 rebounds, with Gustafson’s 12 rebounds giving her a double-double on the night. Tania Davis also added 11 points, rounding out the Hawkeye players in double figures.
For Rutgers, Jeune and Barber led the charge, chipping in 17 and 14 points, respectively. As a team, the Knights shot 40.6 percent from the field, but a 3-for-12 mark from behind the arc held them back during their numerous attempts to erase the Hawkeyes lead.
Of note for Rutgers was the return of true freshman guard Kate Hill, who started the season opener and three games total, but has missed the last 14 games with a stress fracture and has been in a walking boot. She didn’t log a complete minute, but did register a block.
The Scarlet Knights will look to end their four-game losing streak when they host Indiana at the Rutgers Athletic Center next Wednesday night.