Entering Tuesday’s second round NCAA Tournament game against the top seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Iowa Hawkeyes were shooting 33.8% percent from three-point territory.
And on a night where the Hawkeyes needed the shots to fall, Iowa went ice cold.
Iowa missed all eleven of its three-point attempts, and Notre Dame controlled from start to finish in a 74-57 victory Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to advance to the Sweet 16 for the fourth year in a row.
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said the Hawkeyes couldn’t get the necessary shots to fall, especially in the second half.
“We struggled to score tonight,” Bluder said. “In the second half, we just couldn’t buy a bucket, and for us to go 0-for from the three-point line is pretty unusual.”
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said she put emphasis on defending Jaime Printy and Melissa Dixon, and the results showed on the court.
“I was really pleased with our perimeter defense,” McGraw said. “We really wanted to guard the three point line, and we did a great job finding Printy and Dixon on the three-point line.
Kayla McBride had a dominant first half for Notre Dame, pouring in 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting. McBride had an answer for seemingly every Iowa run, knocking down four of her five three point attempts. McBride finished the game with 28 points.
“She got loose for too many shots, especially against the zone,” Bluder said. She was not shooting a great percentage from three coming in, but she definitely proved that she’s someone to be reckoned with outside.”
The Hawkeyes struggled for the second game in a row on the offensive glass, allowing 21 offensive boards to the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame was led on the offensive glass by Natalie Achonwa, who grabbed 14 rebounds, eight on the offensive end. Achonwa finished with a double-double, adding 11 points.
The game marked the final appearance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for seniors Jaime Printy, Morgan Johnson, and Trisha Nesbitt. All three were greeted with standing ovations as they exited, and Printy was hugged by Bluder as she stepped off the court for the final time.
“I told Jaime not to cry,” Bluder said as she fought back her own tears. “I am so appreciative of what they’ve done for us over the last four years.
The Irish advance to the Sweet 16, where they will face No. 12 Kansas in Norfolk, Virginia. All-American Skylar Diggins said the Irish are well-equipped to go on the road, where the heavy favorites will likely be the villain of the region.
“This team has played in some tough atmospheres, and we get the best crowds around the country,” Diggins said. “Iowa was another tough environment, but we had to overcome it to keep dancing.”