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Hawkeyes win battle of the ebb and flow in 97-91 victory over Syracuse

BY MATT CABEL | DECEMBER 06, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s basketball team likes to give its fans a bang for their buck.

Trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half of the game and continually seeing scoring runs happen for nothing, the No. 25 ranked Hawkeyes (9-1) staged a furious second-half rally to beat No. 22 Syracuse, 97-91, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I love it,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “You always dream about these things, but I love where we’re sitting right now.”

They say basketball is a game of runs, and if Iowa’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup against the Orange didn’t prove that, nothing will.

It was a blow-for-blow match early. Guard Samantha Logic left the game at the 13:55 mark after getting elbowed in the face, her team holding a slim 13-11 lead.

Then the Orange went on a 19-9 run in the span of 6:07 game time before the point guard returned to the roar of the crowd.

The Hawkeyes entered the second half trailing by 10 points, 47-37. It seemed that every time they cut the deficit to single digits, the Orange pushed it right back up to 10. The lead changed eight times over the course of the game, with the Orange seemingly in control for 30 of the game’s 40 minutes.

“You’re going to have ebbs and flows to every basketball game,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It’s living through those and not getting down and not panicking and doing things when you’re down that you’re not able to do, because that’s when that keeps spinning out of control.”

Guard Melissa Dixon got the hot hand for the Hawkeyes in the second, and she was accompanied by guard Kali Peschel, who scored 8 of her 10 points in the second half, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists.

The Hawkeyes got hot, the Orange got cold, and the rest, they say, was history.

“Beating a ranked opponent at home is really a good thing for our confidence,” center Bethany Doolittle said. “… going into our next game, it will help us with the flow of our offense, and getting both our offense and defense as best as we can get it.”

Dixon scored 25 second-half points in the victory, and she hit seven shots from downtown for the second time in as many games. She was joined in second half scoring by Logic and Peschel.

“I started off the season in a little bit of a cold spell,” Dixon said. “Coach [Bluder] and my teammates just kept talking to me about keeping the confidence and knowing that the next one was going in.”

Doolittle led the way for the Hawkeyes in the first half sans Logic. The junior scored 13 of her team’s first 18 points, and she was the only Hawkeye in double-digit scoring at the halfway point. The entire offense was flowing through Doolittle in the low post, and the center kept her team in the game when its leader was out.

“We needed to keep getting the ball inside when she’s shooting the ball that well inside,” Bluder said. “I thought that was tremendous.”

The Hawkeyes don’t have much time to celebrate the victory; Idaho State will come to town Saturday afternoon. But for the time being, Bluder’s Bunch can rest easily knowing that it has knocked down another top-25 team.

“This is a big win for us,” Bluder said. “Especially having to battle back from behind and play with a little adversity when Sam [Logic] was out. Everybody contributed to this win. It was one of those wins that you just feel so good about because everybody was an important part. I thought that when we got down, we didn’t rush things. We kept believing out there the entire time, and that was a lot of fun.”


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