Women's basketball snowball grows with win over Minnesota

BY MATT CABEL | JANUARY 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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The snowball that is Iowa women’s basketball got bigger Wednesday evening with a 64-56 win over Minnesota in Williams Arena to put the Hawkeyes’ record at 17-5 (5-3 Big Ten).

“I’m really, really happy with our team right now,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We’ve won five of our last six games — our team is feeling good about themselves right now.” 

Ally Disterhoft paced the Hawkeyes, scoring with 13 points and snaring 8 rebounds in her third career start for Iowa. Sam Logic posted a near triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists, and Bethany Doolittle finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. 

Guard Melissa Dixon played a large role in the team’s fast start, netting three 3-pointers in the first half and finishing with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. 

It looked as if the game could be a blowout after the Hawkeyes jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the opening eight minutes. But the Hawks couldn’t hold the Gophers down forever, and Iowa led, 31-25, at halftime.

The Gophers continued to come back in the second half, scoring the first 9 points of the half to take a 34-31 lead. In its last two victories, Iowa led all 40 minutes. 

Just when it seemed like the Hawkeyes might let the game slip away, the team responded with a 20-2 run that sealed the game and the team’s third-consecutive win in Big Ten play. 

“I don’t remember coming to Minnesota and having that situation ever before,” Bluder said when speaking about her team’s big lead. “It feels very good … just such a great team performance.” 

Sophomore forward Kali Peschel had a strong showing off the bench, scoring 5 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. The Minnesota native converted a 3-point play in the second half that put Iowa’s run at 14-2 and may have been the final dagger. 

The team also held the Big Ten’s leading scorer — Rachel Banham, who averages 22.8 points per game — to 9 points. 

“We talked about everyone being aware of where [Banham] is,” Bluder said. “If we’re in zone, everybody needs to know where she is. If we’re in player, everybody is helping Sam as Rachel comes off screens. Obviously, we’re going to deny her a little harder, and I think she got a little frustrated out there.” 

Up next for the Hawkeyes will be one of the team’s biggest challenges it will face this season —Nebraska. Iowa has not defeated the Cornhuskers since they joined the Big Ten in 2011. Nebraska also ended Iowa’s run in the Big Ten Tournament in 2012-13.

“A team that’s kind of been a thorn in our side since joining the Big Ten,” Bluder. “… I know we’re just going to have a tremendous crowd on hand … our team is just feeling good right now.”

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