How much that means when all is said and done remains to be seen, but a fired up Hawkeyes squad was too much for the Buckeyes at both ends during an 89-76 decision at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
The 21st-ranked Hawkeyes played host to No. 20 Ohio State wanting to finish off a win after letting large leads slip away both times the teams played last season, and head coach Lisa Bluder's team did just that in front of 9,865 fans.
The teams traded the lead throughout an entertaining first half, but the Hawkeyes built just a bit of breathing room before heading to the locker room.
Star guard Jaime Printy put Iowa ahead with a three-pointer that made it 42-40 with 1:14 on the clock. Last season's Big Ten Freshman of the Year followed that trey with another 28 seconds later to set the halftime margin, and Iowa (14-3, 2-2) never trailed after intermission.
After Printy started the half with a layup, Ohio State (10-5, 1-2) closed to within two points thanks to a Jantel Lavender jumper and a Sarah Schulze three-pointer, but that was as close as the Buckeyes would get the rest of the way.
Alternating between zone and man-to-man defense throughout the half, Iowa kept the Buckeyes frustrated. Ohio State's offense never got untracked, and head coach Jim Foster's club had to rely on countless drives to the basket by Tayler Hill to try to manufacture scoring opportunities.
While Hill, an emerging sophomore, ended up with 13 points and five assists, older stars Lavender and Prahalis had rough afternoons.
Lavender had 14 points and 17 rebounds but was hardly heard from at all in the second half.
Prahalis led the Buckeyes with 22 points but needed 19 shots (7 makes) to get there. She was 1 for 9 from three-point range.
Meanwhile, Ohio State had no answer defensively for the Bluder's talented backcourt.
Printy led all scorers with 25 points. She was 8 for 10 from the field, including a pair of treys, and drew enough fouls to earn 9 free throws, of which she made 7.
Point guard Kamille Wahlin added 18 points and four assists for the Hawkeyes while teammate Kachine Alexander contributed 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Iowa consistently broke down Ohio State defenders with the dribble, leading to layups and three-point plays of both the new- and old-fashioned variety.
The Hawkeyes were 8 for 19 from three-point range and made 19 of 28 free throws.
The Buckeyes made only 4 of 22 (18.2 percent) of their treys but had some success getting to the charity strip themselves. They were 18 for 20 from there, but that was not enough to offset their other deficiencies.