What happened Thursday can't be changed. The Gophers women's basketball team came out flat against Iowa, got behind early, and things steamrolled late in a 56-point loss to the Hawkeyes at Williams Arena.
The question is: What's next?
The Gophers assembled Friday. They didn't practice, but they watched the film. The difficult, four-quarter-long film of Thursday's loss, which ended with a 21-3 fourth quarter.
It wasn't fun.
"[Thursday] night happened," Whalen said. "There is no question we all need to do better. But what you have to do now is, what do you learn from it? If you don't take some things away, don't make any changes, then that's the real issue."
Whalen tried to use an example from her playing days, specifically the 2017 WNBA Finals. After splitting two games at home, the Lynx went to Los Angeles and lost to the Sparks in Game 3, a game in which Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson were benched and the Lynx were outscored 17-7 in the final six-plus minutes. On the brink of elimination, the Lynx watched the film and had a team meeting.
"We bonded together and came back and beat 'em in Game 4 and Game 5," Whalen said. "That's when we became champions. … Obviously, last night, what happened, it won't happen again. We have to learn from it."
It was the worst loss in Whalen's tenure, just eclipsing the 99-44 loss to then-No. 7 Maryland in the 2019-20 regular-season finale.
It's interesting to note that, three days later, the Gophers beat Penn State by 20 in their first Big Ten Conference tournament game. The team bounced back.
Can that happen this Sunday at Michigan State?
The situations are a bit different. Penn State in 2020 was a last-place team that won just one conference game all season.
Michigan State is 9-8 overall, 3-3 in the Big Ten with conference victories over Northwestern, Illinois and Nebraska. It will be difficult for the Gophers (9-10, 2-5) to go to East Lansing and get a victory.
A lot will have to change. Watching the film Friday was a start. Whalen's plan was to do a film review and talk to the team, then practice Saturday before heading out on the road.
"We regrouped as a team [Thursday]," Whalen said. "We licked our wounds together. We have to move on. There are lessons to be taken, things to be learned. How we respond will be the telltale sign.''