IOWA CITY — The notoriously tense power that arrives when faculty basketball seasons are near ending earlier than they’re speculated to barged its method into Carver-Hawkeye Arena, virtually prefer it knew its method round.
For the higher a part of 4 quarters, Sunday’s scene felt eerily just like the catastrophe Iowa endured a season in the past. It was on this veteran Hawkeye group to stop one other monumental faceplant from materializing.
Iowa, for all it struggled with, proved its value in profitable time.
It was removed from a masterpiece, however the No. 2 seed Hawkeye ladies are off to the Sweet 16 for the third time within the final 4 NCAA Tournaments because of a 74-66 win over No. 10 seed Georgia inside a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
While a regional semifinal berth could really feel like a bare-minimum achievement given Iowa’s Final Four chatter, the Hawkeyes a minimum of confirmed they might deal with the tense state of affairs they didn’t final 12 months once they misplaced to Creighton at dwelling in the identical spot.
For for much longer than Iowa wished, Sunday’s second-round affair unfolded at Georgia tempo and elegance. The Bulldogs mucked up and suffocated the center with their zone protection, forcing Iowa to battle by means of the muddle and discover its classic offensive product earlier than issues spiraled too far.
There was by no means that momentum-snatching push Iowa loves to make use of to tug away, extra simply an unwavering persistence to get the ball inside and grind its option to the end line.
The Hawkeyes lastly broke by means of the stress within the ultimate minute, after Caitlin Clark’s runner gave Iowa a 70-66 lead with 42 seconds remaining. Iowa responded with back-to-back defensive stops — the second crucial after a Clark inbounds go was intercepted — earlier than closing issues out with 4 Clark free throws.
Clark completed with 22 factors and 12 assists whereas taking pictures 6-for-17 from the sphere and 4-for-10 from deep. Monika Czinano had Iowa with 20 factors and 9 rebounds. Timely offensive contributions from McKenna Warnock (14 factors) and Gabbie Marshall (15 factors on 5 treys) saved Iowa’s offense afloat simply sufficient.
The nervousness that lingered all the best way to the top final season was removed from eliminated at intermission. Although the Hawkeyes spent many of the first half out in entrance — rising their result in as giant as 10 with a barrage of downtown motion — Georgia’s zone protection nonetheless mucked up passing lanes and within the paint, making it tough for Iowa to function.
Pair that with 10 first-half turnovers, with a minimum of one from each starter, and the Hawkeyes hardly felt snug within the locker room with a 41-40 benefit.
Iowa, to its credit score, prevented catastrophe from hanging twice in as many seasons. Much might want to enhance, although, if the Hawkeyes are to advance to the Elite Eight in Seattle.
Dargan Southard is a sports activities trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at email@example.com.