IOWA CITY | Iowa was up to the challenge Wednesday, but two things came back to haunt the Hawkeye women’s basketball team in a 94-93 loss to 13th-rated Florida State.
The Seminoles took advantage of 19 offensive rebounds and turned 21 Iowa turnovers into 26 points, just enough to hand the Hawkeyes their first loss in eight games this season as a crowd of 4,202 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena watched Florida State overcome a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit.
“When you give up 24 more shots to the opposing team and you lose by one point, it’s hard because it’s offensive rebounds, it’s turnovers, live-ball turnovers that end up being high-percentage shots at the other end," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
Still, it took two-time all-American Shakayla Thomas scoring 17 of her 31 points in the final quarter, collecting points on six straight possessions to fuel the Seminoles’ comeback in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge game.
“It wasn’t just me, it was my teammates getting me the ball, it was all of us getting the job done," Thomas said. “They made us earn it.’’
It got to the point where Bluder switched to a zone in an 86-86 game and Imani Wright made the Hawkeyes pay, hitting nothing but net on her seventh three-point basket of the game.
Part of a 26-point performance, Wright’s 25-foot shot from the left wing moved Florida State ahead to stay with 36 seconds remaining and after Iowa turned the ball over on the inbounds following a timeout, the Seminoles hit six-of-seven free throws over the final 24 seconds to hold off the Hawkeyes.
Iowa shot 61 percent from the game and much like the Hawkeyes struggled to contain Thomas, the Seminoles had no answer for Megan Gustafson.
The junior knocked down 15-of-18 shots to finish with 34 points, one shy of a career high, and she was denied her eighth double-double of the season by one rebound.
“They do a tremendous job of feeding her the ball in great positions for her to score. She’s so efficient," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. “We didn’t have an answer for her."
Early on, the Seminoles (7-0) struggled to have any answer for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes missed their first shot of the game but connected on their next 15 opportunities from the field.
That included early points from Alexis Sevillian and Tania Davis, who finished with 14 points apiece, and the start of a 13-point game from Kathleen Doyle as well as the first of Chase Coley’s 10 points.
“My teammates were doing a great job of passing. We were doing a good job of getting to each other in spots where we could score," Gustafson said. “It was the kind of start we wanted."
After hitting 15-of-16 shots to open the game, Iowa closed the half by hitting five of its last 16 shots in the second quarter and it took a run of eight unanswered points to end the half for Iowa to take a 48-44 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“To withstand that start and be down just four at the half, we felt pretty good, honestly," Semrau said. “Just go play."
Gustafson made that a challenge, scoring 10 of Iowa’s 12 points as Florida State went scoreless for a five-minute stretch that saw the Hawkeyes open a 75-63 lead on a basket by Gustafson with 8:14 remaining.
“We were right there, but we couldn’t finish it off,’’ Coley said. “It wasn’t the win we wanted, but this is a game we can take a lot from. We know now that we can compete with the best teams in the country.’’