Role reversals key Hawkeyes' win over Wildcats

BY IAN MARTIN | MARCH 08, 2013 5:00 AM

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HOFMANN ESTATES, Ill. — It was an oddity befitting of a pre-noon tip.

Iowa’s point guard Sam Logic led her team with 11 total rebounds in Iowa’s 60-55 victory over Northwestern on Thursday. Logic’s two tallest teammates scored 16 of their 28 combined points on jump shots.

Now, this isn’t unusual for Logic or 6-5 Morgan Johnson and 6-4 Bethany Doolittle. Logic finished the Big Ten regular season 11th in offensive boards, averaging 2.4 per game. Johnson and Doolittle have consistently scored from the mid-range in their careers as well, although not consistently in the same game.

Both players and their head coach expected nothing less in the first-ever women’s Big Ten Tournament to take place in the Chicagoland area.

“Sam’s been like that forever,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said about Logic’s knack for boards. “Sometimes, she and Morgan [Johnson] get in little competitive games as to who can get the most rebounds.”

Logic seemingly expects the same from her post player’s propensity to make a 15-foot basket.
“They’re just great shooters,” she said. “You can’t always contest them.”

Iowa needed all three players’ unconventional abilities in a game in which not much else was working early for Iowa.

Despite having the advantage in nearly every statistical category in the first half, seventh-seed Iowa only led the 10th-seed Northwestern by 4 points at halftime. Perhaps it was the Hawkeye’s 1-for-12 shooting from beyond the arc that kept the Wildcats in the game, or maybe it was the 0 points from Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year Melissa Dixon.

The second half was much different.

Don’t let the final score misrepresent the Hawkeyes’ final frame. Iowa was up either 9 or 11 points for much of the second half, with only some desperation Northwestern jumpers keeping the Wildcats that close.

While Iowa only outrebounded the Wildcats by 2, the telling statistic lies at the line. Iowa shot 13 more free throws than Northwestern, with many of those chances occurring after an offensive rebound that led to a put-back hack.

Logic was the only player with double-digit rebounds on the Iowa stat sheet. And with 2 offensive rebounds in each half, the point guard was going beyond the typical job description. Instead of simply distributing, the Racine, Wis., native was rebounding and redistributing.

Both of Logic’s second-half offensive boards led to points in some form for Iowa. But instead of taking credit, the sophomore said it was all part of the game plan.

“Coach always emphasizes crashing pretty hard on the offensive [rebounds],” she said. “And defensively, we play good defense first to make them miss shots.”

Iowa’s senior post player wasn’t so humble about the Hawkeye’s large tandem. The two made jumpers coming consistently from the high post or short corner, which Johnson said was often the design of the play. And when that’s working, it opens up a lot of options for Iowa — the kind they’ll need when facing 2-seed Nebraska at 11:30 a.m. today.

“That’s a double threat there,” Johnson said. “You have to pick one or the other.”

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