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Iowa wins in prep for Nebraska

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | JANUARY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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One down. One big one to go.

With Nebraska coming to town for a showdown Jan. 26, the Iowa women’s basketball team took every opportunity to warm up for an opponent it has never beaten against one it has beaten quite a bit: Michigan.

And excellent preparation it was. Despite a number of early first-half leads by Iowa, the Wolverines kept their foot on the accelerator to keep things close all game. The Black and Gold eventually overcame the pressure to secure a 76-70 victory, a win as hard-earned as any the Hawkeyes have had this year.

Not that they expected anything less, of course.

“Just a great win for the program tonight,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Michigan has a real tough team with a post in Cyesha Goree, who’s as good as anyone else in the conference.”

Iowa shot perfectly in the early going, with sophomore Ally Disterhoft, freshman Whitney Jennings, and senior Melissa Dixon draining jump shots to catapult the Hawks to an early 9-4 lead with the usual first-half Iowa banzai charge up and down the court in full effect.

However, a 10-point Hawkeye lead through the first seven minutes, more than an occasional occurrence for the Hawks in 2015, failed to demoralize Michigan. 

The Wolverines clawed their way back and brought an onslaught of their own to cut the Iowa lead to 4 by the end of the first half as the Hawks limped into the dressing room to regroup for the final 20 minutes.

The Hawks responded with a balanced attack, pressing the Wolverines with an ever-changing game plan.

“We tried to throw a lot of different things at them tonight,” Bluder said. “We had five players in double figures tonight, really. We won as a team.”

Needing a spark offensively to start the second, senior Sam Logic lit a blaze. The captain and Racine, Wisconsin, native found open seams almost out of nowhere to start the wheels rolling offensively.
She finished with 11 assists in addition to 13 points for her 26th career double-double.

“Their press really helped us get back to our game tonight,” Logic said. “Their double teams and the way we were playing helped.  We’re always going to look for the extra pass there.”

Inspired perhaps by the torrid pace of their captain and leader, the rest of the Black and Gold followed suit.

Dixon, quiet for most of the first half, finally caught fire in the second half, shooting 5-of-9 from the field including two from behind the arc.

She finished with 16.

“Especially when they press us like that, it helps us run the break and get buckets off transition,” Jennings said.  “We definitely like when teams press us a bit.”


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