It all looked familiar.
Sunday at Williams Arena the Gophers women's basketball team was in the game with Iowa at halftime, out of answers after three quarters.
The result: a 94-68 loss.
The reason: a 28-8 third quarter by Iowa (10-4, 6-4 Big Ten), which turned a six-point game at halftime into a rout and a season sweep of the Gophers (5-8, 4-7).
In early January in Iowa City, the Gophers led by 16 in the first half and by 10 at halftime before Iowa used a 32-16 third quarter to pull away.
This time the difference was more stark as the Gophers' three-game winning streak came to an end. A 12-4 run had brought the Gophers within six at halftime. They were, briefly, within four in the third quarter. But Minnesota was outscored 25-4 over the final 9:20 of the third quarter, shooting 2-for-10 in that stretch with seven turnovers that Iowa turned into 11 points.
"I feel we reverted back to the way we used to play,'' said point guard Jasmine Powell, who played 34 minutes despite turning an ankle in practice Saturday. She scored 12 points with five rebounds and five assists. Difficult third quarters were a part of the Gophers' slow start to conference play. "And I feel we were not responding well. They were going to run and we didn't have our [energy].''
Monika Czinano was, again, amazingly efficient for Iowa in the post, scoring 23 points on 11-for-14 shooting against a Gophers team that, for the most part, did not try to front her. The Watertown, Minn., native is 28-for-33 in her past two games.
Freshman Caitlin Clark scored 22 points with 11 assists; Iowa's offense was so in sync that the Hawkeyes had assists on 28 of their 36 field goals. Seven Iowa players scored in the third quarter, and the Hawkeyes had 48 points in the paint.
Minnesota's best chance was to keep Iowa in a half-court game. But turnovers and missed shots allowed Iowa to get moving in transition. The result: a 25-12 edge on the break. Iowa shot 58.1%. On the other end, with the Hawkeyes using a triangle-and-two designed to pressure Powell and Sara Scalia, the Gophers shot under 40%. Iowa led by as many as 34 early in the fourth quarter.
"A tough second half at times,'' Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen said. "We had the momentum. But give Iowa credit. We'll watch it, learn. We'll get better.''
Scalia finished with 16 points but took 16 shots. She was 2-for-9 from long range. Center Klarke Sconiers had a career-high 11 rebounds to go with five points.
"Our shots weren't falling, and I think we had a little bit of a letdown,'' said Kadi Sissoko, who scored nine points with six rebounds. "I think it was the way they were playing, sharing the ball and communicating. And, obviously, Czinano hurt us a lot in the paint.''
The Gophers played a second game without Gadiva Hubbard. A week off now will give the Gophers time to heal. And practice.
"We'll continue to work,'' Whalen said. "Like we always do.''