IOWA CITY — Morgan Johnson sat at the end of the interview table Monday night, her eyes down, her expression grim and her voice determined.
“We’ve got to have wins now,” she said after the Iowa Hawkeyes lost their fourth straight women’s basketball game, 76-75 to Nebraska. “No more close losses.
“We’re more than capable. We can come back from this.”
Iowa (16-9 overall, 5-6 Big Ten) takes aim at another ranked opponent Thursday when No. 8 Penn State (20-3, 10-1) comes to town.
Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes have been able to rise to the level of the competition, compiling a 6-0 record against ranked foes. But that was before the current slide seeped in.
Now, wins are important and time is running short. Five regular-season games remain, and just two at home.
“I think we still have some work to. I’d like to see us win three more,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “I think that would solidify things. But I don’t know. Who knows what the (NCAA tournament) selection committee will think.
“We have the (top) team coming in in our conference on Thursday, and we get them on our home court, so that’s a great opportunity. So we’ve got to make the most of that opportunity.”
Penn State has won 14 of its last 15 games; the only bump in the road was a loss at Wisconsin.
Maggie Lucas and Alex Bentley have carried the load for the Lady Lions, averaging 19.7 and 13.7 points, respectively.
No. 8 PENN STATE (20-3, 10-1) at IOWA (16-9, 5-6)
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Thursday
Notable: The Hawkeyes try to break a four-game losing streak. Jaime Printy has risen to No. 4 on Iowa’s all-time scoring chart, with 1,770 points while Morgan Johnson has moved to 10th with 1,470. Johnson had her 20th career double-double in the Hawkeyes’ loss to Nebraska on Monday. Penn State junior Maggie Lucas ranks 18th in the country in scoring, at 19.7 points per game.