Uh oh. NU's Big Ten opener against Iowa was supposed to be a bellwether match, a good test against a team the Wildcats will likely be battling for positioning in the conference's middle tier. Given that, it's not a good sign that the Wildcats were thoroughly dismantled by the Hawkeyes, in an 86-55 beatdown in Iowa City. The loss drops our slumping Wildcats to 10-4, losers of three out of their past four.
NU hung with Iowa early on, tying the score up 15-15 about midway through the first half. But then the Hawkeyes went on a 20-5 run, with four 3-pointers, and never looked back. Iowa would lead 43-22 at the break, and things only got worse in the second half.
Stats tell the story in this one. NU allowed Iowa to shoot 45.6% for the game, including 12-27 from behind the arc, a stat that was much worse for NU until garbage time. By comparison, NU shot 33.3%. The Wildcats were outrebounded 45-35; the Hawkeyes scored 29 points off of 17 NU turnovers. Iowa also had 17 second-chance points to NU's 9, and 17 fast break points.
Karly Roser led the Wildcats with 14 points, Kendall Hackney had 12. About the only bright spot for NU is that junior guard Inesha Hale made her season debut tonight after missing the entire non-conference schedule. Hale played six minutes and scored one point. Also, Dannielle Diamant was back in the starting lineup, after having injured her foot in the previous game against Toledo. She played 20 minutes and had 6 points with 6 rebounds.
NU will look to regroup against Minnesota at home next Thursday. The Golden Gophers are 8-6 on the year, and NU should be favored in this one.