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Disterhoft's explosive second half lifts Hawkeye women to upset over Nebraska

BY KYLE MANN | JANUARY 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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Ally Disterhoft’s first half stats: 0-of-5 from the floor, 0 points, and 3 rebounds.

Disterhoft’s final stat line: 7-of-15 from the floor, 20 points, and 13 rebounds.

So what changed? As exemplified by Disterhoft’s numbers, the Nebraska defense stifled the Hawkeyes (16-3, 7-1 Big Ten) on Monday night in the first half; then the Hawks exploded in the second to win a 78-72 thriller in overtime.

The second-ranked field-goal offense in the Big Ten ran into Nebraska (15-4, 5-3), the stingiest defense in the conference, and as a result began the game 0-of-6 from the floor and trailed 8-0 before a free throw by Whitney Jennings near the 16-minute mark. Senior Sam Logic made Iowa’s first field goal near the 15-minute mark after numerous revolutions around the rim for dramatic effect.

Though they broke out of their initial slump, the Hawks not only put themselves at an early disadvantage, the offense remained ineffective while the defense offered little resistance to the Cornhuskers. Emily Cady’s 10th point of the game with 8:40 remaining in the half followed by a Rachel Theriot midrange jumper shortly after had the visitors shooting 48 percent and leading 24-15.

The Huskers slowed down offensively, but the Hawkeyes never really got started and went to the locker room at the half trailing 28-21.

“Forty-five hundred people show up for a tip on a Monday night, and we needed their energy. We’re down 7 points at half, and we used it,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “So thank-you to everyone who showed up tonight. It was a totally different game in the second half and a totally different offense for us.”

The Hawkeyes were down by 10 points three, four, and seven minutes into the second half, though a 3-pointer by freshman Christina Buttenham with 12:47 remaining seemed to give them the spark they needed to turn their game around.

“Being down seven with 12 minutes to go, we just got stops and rebounds, and then we got to push,” Logic said. “We got out in transition, and that’s why I think shots were falling a little better. When we push in transition, we get better shots.”

The Iowa defense followed the Buttenham triple by forcing a shot clock violation, a lay-up by Disterhoft, and a driving finger roll by Logic to cut the lead to 44-39 with 11:51 remaining.

Disterhoft’s second-half eruption kept her team battling, and a 3-pointer drew the Hawkeyes to 51-48 leading into the under-eight media time-out.

Two coast-to-coast lay-ups by Logic — one on an outlet from Disterhoft and one on a steal of her own — followed by a Disterhoft free throw finally knotted the score at 53 with roughly five minutes remaining.

Within 20 seconds, the Huskers had regained a 4-point lead, but Melissa Dixon’s first 3-pointer of the game pulled Iowa within 1 and sent the crowd going bonkers. Moments later, a long 2 by Logic gave the home team its first lead of the night with 3:50 remaining.

Jennings was at the line for a pair with 1.3 seconds remaining, but after splitting the pair, the game was tied 61-61 and Carver-Hawkeye was treated to some free basketball.

The teams traded baskets on the first four possessions, but a pair of Bethany Doolittle free throws followed by a Disterhoft block and another Doolittle lay-up put Iowa ahead, 69-65, with just under two minutes to go.

Logic, Doolittle, and Disterhoft had all the cushion they needed, and Disterhoft in particular carried the team to its most impressive home win of the year.

“At no time did my teammates or my coaches doubt that my next shot was going to go in,” Disterhoft said. “When you have girls like that who are so unselfish and believe in you so much, it’s easy to play well.”

Follow @KyleFMann on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s basketball team.


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