INDIANAPOLIS – In the Michigan women’s basketball team’s 58-37 loss to Iowa on Friday afternoon, size mattered.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder rotated her lineup throughout the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal to keep her forwards rested. Iowa’s depth up front allowed the Hawkeyes to dominate the glass, outrebounding Michigan 46-24.
“They’re big, and they’re a veteran team,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said.
The Wolverines had trouble penetrating into the lane, especially with center Krista Phillips on the bench for much of the second half.
She was taken out after playing weak defense against the Hawkeye forwards in the first half. But without her in the game, Michigan’s interior offense down low was nonexistent.
The Wolverines scored just four points in the paint in the second half and allowed Iowa to pick up 14 offensive rebounds for the game while getting just five of their own. The Hawkeyes’ second-chance points made a 16-point difference in the game.
“They were obviously a lot bigger than some of our guards, so we just had a hard time when we got into the lane,” junior Carly Benson said. “We were doing a pretty good job getting to the basket. We just were getting our shots blocked and getting pretty physical, so we weren’t getting many rebounds after we shot it.”
While Iowa’s forwards dominated the boards, they were also the cog of Iowa’s offense, scoring the majority of the Hawkeyes’ points.
Together, forwards Wendy Ausdemore and Johanna Solverson and centers Stacy Schlapkohl and Megan Skouby scored 35 of Iowa’s 58 points.
Lone bright spots: Although the Wolverines were clearly outplayed by Iowa, they excelled in taking the ball away from the Hawkeyes.
The Wolverines created 17 turnovers and stole the ball 11 times. Sophomore Stephany Skrba led the Wolverines in thievery with three steals. Seven Wolverines had at least one steal.
“I’ll tell you what, we turned them over,” Borseth said. “There was a stretch we turned them over quite a few times in a row. And they came down the other end of the court, and couldn’t make anything.”
But despite the takeaways, Michigan scored just nine points off turnovers and had only four off fast breaks.
Going out with a bang: Michigan senior Katie Dierdorf has seen little playing time this season, but she made the most of what she got on Friday.
Dierdorf entered the game with 3:44 remaining in the second half and the Wolverines trailing by 20. But she didn’t let the score get to her, making her first career 3-pointer on her first career attempt.
“Wasn’t it awesome? Her first career three? That was really awesome,” Borseth said. “I was really happy for her. Katie’s a great kid, obviously has worked hard all year long and really hasn’t really gotten her due. It’s been tough for her. But she’s been a great team player. And to see her make that three, her inside was probably just boiling over.”