Hawks fall to Baylor in Sweet 16

Iowa’s postseason run came to an end March 27 in Oklahoma City, as the Hawks dropped their Sweet 16 matchup against Baylor. 

OKLAHOMA CITY — There’s an old saying that goes along the lines of “Hard-work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

It’s been used countless times to justify numerous historic upsets in just about every sport imaginable. But the flip side that no one talks about is that when talent does work hard, it kicks hard work right in the teeth.

Bested by a Baylor team that outplayed it in nearly every facet of the game, the Iowa women’s basketball team fell to high-flying Baylor on March 27 in Chesapeake Energy Arena, 81-66.

“It’s hard to remember the good times when the last one was so painful, but I’m going to try to remember the good ones we had this year,” head coach Lisa Bluder said.

That’s not to say the Hawks are untalented or performed poorly, far from it. Iowa played full-bore right up until the very end. Baylor was simply better at shutting the Iowa attack down.

“I’m just happy to go out with my team,” guard Same Logic said. “I mean, do battle with this team. I wouldn’t pick anyone else.”

At times it looked like the Hawks would be able to shoot their way out of yet another tight defense. Freshman guard Whitney Jennings nailed a pair of back-to-back jumpers in the game’s opening moments to stop an 8-0 Baylor run.

But the loss of center Bethany Doolittle to foul trouble slowed the Hawks down in a major way in the first 20 minutes.

The Hawkeyes looked a little bit lost under the rim without their veteran post, and  despite playing only 11 minutes, the Minnesota native led all Iowa scorers in the first half with 10 points.

Her re-emergance on the floor in the first half’s final moments re-energized the Hawks, prompting an incredible 11-0 run that pulled the score to within 4.

Baylor took back the momentum, drilling a deep 3 at the buzzer to put the Bears up 42-24 at the half.

“That was big, going from a one-possession game to a three-possession game pretty much,” Logic said. “It was big-time shots by them.”

And though Doolittle reappeared in the second half, she paid a heavy price, taking a physical beating all night that culminated in a broken nose in the game’s fleeting moments.

She did not return.

“We obviously felt really bad for Beth after she went down,” senior guard Melissa Dixon said. “We wanted to do it for Beth and rally around it; we just came up a little bit short.”

The loss will no doubt sting for a while, but for Iowa and its dynamic senior class, there is no shortage of things to be proud of this year, especially for Logic.

A triple-double and hard-fought effort even in defeat, Logic and the Hawks pushed right up until the end.

And though the result was less than ideal for the Hawks, the strides the team took this season will have a lasting effect on the program for years to come.

In Bluder’s mind, that legacy is worth more than wins and losses.

“They’re incredible role models, they’re great students, and they’re great to come to work with,” she said. “The effort they’ve given us the last four years has been nothing short of amazing.”

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