No. 10 Indiana women’s basketball was unable to protect the boards Monday night, and it was ultimately defeated 88-82 by Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Indiana lost the rebounding battle 37-27 in the rematch from Saturday’s 96-91 Iowa win.
Iowa set the rebounding tone early, grabbing five of the first six loose balls. Iowa doubled Indiana’s rebounding production 12-6 in the first quarter, and Indiana was unable to narrow the margin going into halftime.
The poor showing on the glass also plagued the Hoosiers in Saturday’s loss, where the Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle 41-27.
“We got our hands on a lot of them but we didn't come up with them,” junior forward Mackenzie Holmes said.
Holmes corralled four rebounds, all in the first half, for the Hoosiers before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Senior forward Aleksa Gulbe pulled in five rebounds — to tie for a team high — and sophomore forward Kiandra Browne grabbed four before fouling out as well.
Head coach Teri Moren said she thought Iowa’s positive rebounding margin was a direct result of Indiana missing close shots.
“You know, I don’t think it was an effort thing, it could be because we were missing shots,” Moren said. “We missed a lot of shots in the second half. Easy shots at the basket that we needed and we normally would make. So I think a lot of (Iowa’s rebounds) came by way of defensive rebounds.”
The foul trouble for Indiana’s forwards meant the team was forced to rely on its guards to compete on the glass and get rebounds. Graduate student guard Cardaño-Hillary, the shortest player on the court at 5'6", tied Gulbe with five rebounds to lead Indiana.
Senior center Monika Czinano led Iowa’s rebounding efforts with 10 rebounds to go along with her game-high 31 points. Czinano recorded seven of her rebounds in the second half during Iowa’s comeback.
“Going back and watching and seeing what kind of happened down the stretch,” Holmes said. “I think that if we got our hands on a couple of those balls it would’ve turned out a little bit differently.”
Holmes, Indiana’s leader in rebounds per game this season, was playing in only her third game back after missing over a month of play with a knee injury. Holmes said her main priority right now is increasing her endurance.
“The strength in her leg that she had the procedure in, her quad is not near at full strength where it needs to be,” Moren said. “She is trying to get back in game shape for us, but it's hard to do when you don’t have any practice time.”
Indiana will get a much-needed break before its next game, a road contest against Maryland to close out the regular season. The game, a rematch from Indiana’s 70-63 win on Jan. 2, will tip-off from College Park, Maryland at 8 p.m. Friday.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the final score in the headline.