TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — For the first seven minutes of Wednesday night’s Big Ten-ACC Challenge game, Iowa ran its game plan to perfection.
Things slowly unraveled as Florida State turned up its defensive pressure and aggravated Iowa’s ballhandlers. The Hawkeyes turned the ball over 24 times, lost 83-69 and fell to 1-5 in the annual inter-conference competition.
“Our first half was pretty solid, but the second half — you can’t give up 50 points against a good team on the road and expect to win,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “And 28 points off turnovers is just a big red flag for us.”
Attacking the Seminoles (6-0) and their matchup zone went smoothly early when Iowa (5-3) sent lanky forward Brittany Doolittle to the top of the key to open the paint for entry passes to cutting guards.
“I thought we did OK against it and got some good shots,” Bluder said. “It’s unfortunate (center) Morgan Johnson picked up a second foul and had to sit 10 minutes. That’s a big weapon for us. … But we had to attack the gaps against the matchup zone. I thought we did a pretty good job at first.”
Guard Samantha Logic scored 14 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists. But as the game wore on, the Seminoles guards sped up the pace, and Logic finished with 10 turnovers.
“They’re pretty physical and the refs let a lot go at the top,” Logic said. “We had to adjust to that with our ball-handling and we just didn’t do it, me especially.”
“The openings are in the middle and we thought we’d be able to get the ball inside a little bit easier,” Bluder said. “When they came with the zone in the second half, it was a different level of intensity. It kind of shocked us a little bit.”
What didn’t help matters was the offensive efficiency displayed by the Seminoles when they had the ball, especially guard Leonor Rodriguez. The senior made 11 of 15 shots from the field and 4 of 6 3-pointers for a career-high 28 points.
Johnson led Iowa with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and Doolittle pitched in 10 points and nine rebounds. Guard Jaime Printy scored 13 points but also had six turnovers.
“The pace was definitely up-tempo tonight at the beginning and then again toward the end,” Johnson said. “I think that always forces us to make some mistakes.