Doolittle hero in Hawks victory


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Bethany Doolittle stuck out a little more than usual in Iowa’s 73-65 victory on Thursday night over Ohio State.

Not that the Oakdale, Minnesota, native is any stranger to attention. That sort of thing tends to happen when you’re 6-4 and a perennial All-Big Ten award winner on one of the most skilled offensive teams in the country.

No, on Thursday night, it was Doolittle’s game that stood out.

Her strong presence in the post in a game that featured largely perimeter offense may not have been the most electrifying performance from a member of the Black and Gold, but it was without a doubt one of the most important.

No matter the scheme, no matter the personnel, and no matter the score, the up-and-down Buckeyes simply had no answer for Doolittle’s steady presence down low.

And coming off of a potentially important loss to Maryland on Sunday, a dominant game from Doolittle was just what the doctor ordered.

“Bouncing back strong and coming out tough after a loss is what we’ve been able to do all season,” Doolittle said. “It’s something the whole team focused on at practice, especially defensively, so it was nice to come out with a win.”

Any fans who were late to Thursday’s matchup probably missed quite a bit in the first half. Fast break after fast break kept the clocking running almost constantly, not much of a surprise considering the two teams on the floor were among the conference elite in fast-break scoring.

And while a defensively sound and physically imposing center may not be the first member of the Black and Gold that comes to mind when you hear “fast break,” Doolittle’s under-the-radar performance was nonetheless vital.

Defensively, Doolittle was a thorn in the side of junior Ameryst Alston and sophomore Shayla Cooper all night, guarding the rim and grinding down every Buckeye drive with authority.

“I think all of us are happy with the played we played defensively tonight, especially winning the rebound war,” sophomore Ally Disterhoft said.  

Doolittle finished with 13 boards, as well as 5 blocks and was a huge reason Alston sat out large swaths of the second half because of foul trouble before eventually fouling out.

Her 13 rebounds were more than any player.

“We won the rebounding war tonight, and that was a big part of it,” Bluder said.  “That plus our defensive effort were key.”

Giving credit where it is due, the entire Hawkeye squad turned in a sound effort on both sides of the ball, but the Hawks’ commitment to stopping the offense proved to be the difference. 

“Our defensive effort was outstanding tonight,” Bluder said. “[Kelsey] Mitchell has half the points she usually averages, Ameryst has half the points she’s been averaging as well.  That was really the key to our winning tonight.”

Offensively, Doolittle was just as effective, recording 19 points, good for second on the team, which featured four players in double-digits.

“Everyone’s scoring right now, which is good to see,” Disterhoft said.  “We’ve had a lot of balance the past few games, and that’s just Iowa women’s basketball.”

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