Women’s Basketball loses in First Round of NCAA, 75-67 vs No. 3 Iowa
AU Women’s Basketball took No.3 seed University of Iowa to the edge in the first half, but ultimately fell short of a win, 75-67.
However outmatched, outskilled and out-experienced the Eagles may have felt, they did not show any insecurities in their first appearance in program history at the Women’s NCAA Tournament. The Eagles and Hawkeyes engaged in a full game, going back and forth and trading hot shots from start to finish.
While AU was making its first appearances at the tournament, host Iowa was making its 24th overall appearance and eighth in a row.
“Through out the entire game they [the team] fought, and if you told me we were going to shoot 44 percent from two, 43 percent from three and 70 percent from the line and lose, I would have been shocked,” two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year head coach Megan Gebbia said.
In a game where the Eagles hit their shots and followed through on Gebbia’s demands, the Hawkeyes still played a smoother, more effective game and were able to come out victorious because of it. The Eagles finished the day going 24-for-55 (43.6 percent) from the field and 12-for-28 (42.9 percent) from the three-point line. The Hawkeyes went 25-for-51 (49 percent) from the field and 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
In what would be her last collegiate basketball game of her career, Patriot League Player of the Year senior guard Jen Dumiak led all scorers with 23 points, just missed a double-double by one assist and was the only player on the court to play all 40 minutes.
Junior guard Ari Booth emerged from the bench, instantly making an impact with three three-pointers in a row. Booth finished with 17 points, going 5-for-10 from the three-point line.
Going into the game the Hawkeyes ranked eighth in the nation in points scored per game, boasting an average of 79.8 a game. Iowa’s high tempo offense is primarily set on their ability to speed down the court, stretch floor and drain the three-pointer. Iowa ranks top 15 in the country in three-pointers made per game, banking a total of 253 all season and 8.2 per game, and the Hawkeyes are also top five in the country in three-point percentage averaging 39 percent from downtown. The Eagles knew heading into the game that matching Iowa’s offense would prove difficult.
“They’re difficult to play at home, they have a great starting five, all five can score, so it will be a challenge,” Gebbia said at the selection show on Monday night.
The Eagles began the game in the hole 0-6, playing with nerves and anxiety. The teams’ rhythm began to emerge with a three-point shot from senior guard Arron Zimmerman, followed by a forced turnover and a Dumiak layup, making it a one point game 8-7.
Two minutes after Booth entered the game, the Eagles took the lead 12-10 off her first three-point shot. Booth would go off on a one-women run scoring eight consecutive points for the Eagles.
“If you give me that much space, I’m going to shoot it,” Booth said. “I was getting great screens from our post players, and I just felt good about it, felt I had a clean look.”
The Hawkeyes began pushing up the tempo, and the Eagles we’re much obliged to match them. Trading quick buckets, the Eagles stretch out their lead to 24-19 with 9:05 to play in the half.
Iowa continued to get free looks on the outside and banked three straight three-pointers and several free throws over a span of two minutes. The Hawkeyes regained the lead 28-30 with 6:01 until halftime.
AU combated Iowa’s three-pointers with three-point missile shots of their own. Booth and Zimmerman’s three-point shots gave the Eagles the lead again and extended it to 34-30 with 3:25 to play before the break. Both teams shots kept falling, and Iowa and AU entered halftime tied up at 36-36.
From the beginning of the second half, Iowa found a new gear, not missing a single shot for six minutes. The Hawkeyes three-pointers created a hole for the Eagles fast, and, with 14:49 to play, AU faced a nine-point deficit. The Hawkeyes led 51-42, and they extended their lead to as much as 13 points throughout the half.
The Eagles battled back to as close as a two possession game but late clutch Iowa free-throws pushed the win out of reach. Iowa brought their home crowd of 4,000 fans a 75-67 win.
The Hawkeyes applied pressure from all positions in their lineup, and every starter reaching double digits making it hard for the Eagles to focus in on an individual player to stop Iowa’s offense. Three AU players carried it’s team, as Zimmerman, Dumiak and Booth combined for 57 points of AU’s 67 points.
“This group represented American University well, the Patriot League extremely well and we had three great seniors that have lead us all year, and Iowa is a terrific team they just shot better than we did.” Gebbia said.
Eagle staff writer Samantha Hogan contributed to this story.
A previous version of the headline misidentified Iowa's seed.