Feb. 12, 2012
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By ADAM MEIER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Samantha Logic scored 11 second-half points to help the University of Iowa women’s basketball team surge past Michigan State, 74-57, on Sunday on Medicom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It is Iowa’s fifth consecutive victory.
The teams were tied, 30-30, at halftime, but the Hawkeyes turned up the heat during the final 20 minutes by shooting 53.6 percent from the field (15-of-28).
Iowa improved to 16-10 overall, 8-5 in the Big Ten Conference; Michigan State dropped to 15-10, 7-5.
Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures, led by Morgan Johnson with 18 points and seven rebounds. Logic compiled 17 points and 13 rebounds and Kamille Wahlin added 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Two Iowa players made the most of their minutes off the bench: Bethany Doolittlescored 10 points with five rebounds in 10 minutes and Theairra Taylor poured in 10 points in 10 minutes.
For any team to continue winning without a key player, contributions must be provided from a host of individuals. That was the case Sunday.
“We have such a balanced team,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I don’t think we’ve ever been a one-person show. (Injured guard) Jaime (Printy) was certainly our leading scorer, but I think when Jaime went down, everybody had a focus that they had to pick up their game a little bit.”
The Hawkeyes started strong, converting on six of their first eight field goal attempts to grab a 14-4 lead five minutes into the contest. The Spartans, on the other hand, struggled executing against the stingy Iowa defense and started the game shooting 1-of-10 from the field.
Johnson sparked the Hawkeyes early on, making four of her first six shots from the field. The junior center ended the first half leading team in scoring with 14 points.
“With Jaime being gone there’s been a different emphasis on where we’re getting our points from,” Johnson said. “I’ve gotten a lot of great passes from the inside. And I’ve had a little bit more determination to be a threat offensively because that’s what our team needs, and I’m willing to do what our team needs.”
While the Iowa defense was able to hold Michigan State in check early in the first period, the Spartan shooters eventually got going. With Iowa leading 20-15 with 9:11 left in the half, Michigan State’s Annalise Pickrel knocked down one the Spartan’s five first half 3-pointers. Another 3-pointer by Pickrel, this time with 5:21 remaining in the half, gave the Spartans a 26-23 lead and capped their 11-3 run.
With the game tied at 30 at intermission, the Hawkeyes came out of the locker room energized and quickly gained the advantage. Logic drove the lane for a layup to give Iowa a 34-33 lead with 17:31 to go. Then on Michigan State’s next possession, Wahlin stripped the ball from a Spartan player and found a wide open Kelly Krei on the other end, who nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to extend the lead to 37-33.
“Everyone’s stepped up their game,” Wahlin said. “The people coming off the bench are also stepping up their game. That kind of effort from everyone across the board is getting us better.”
The Hawkeyes continued to maintain a slim lead through the second half, until a string of Iowa baskets broke the game open. Leading 45-43, freshman Melissa Dixon hit a deep 3-pointer to push the lead to five. Later, Johnson converted her patented turnaround baby hook-shot that made the score 50-43 with 9:19 remaining. Iowa then pushed the lead to double-digits courtesy of a Wahlin runner over the reach of a Spartan defender that made the score 57-46 with 7:03 left.
Iowa’s defense was able to keep Michigan State at bay preventing them from getting back to within striking distance and sending the audience of 7,307 home happy.
“Thrilled with the crowd today,” Bluder said. “They really came out to support us here. For the crowd to come out and help us and energize us today was outstanding.”
The Hawkeyes shot 15-of-28 (53.6 percent) in the second half and 26-of-56 (46.4 percent) for the game. Iowa’s defense held the Spartans to 21-of-63 (33.3 percent) shooting on the afternoon.
“This is a really good win for our program,” Bluder said. “Five in a row now, I think our team is feeling really good about going on a road game. This was an important game because it was our only meeting with Michigan State for head-to-head competition for tiebreakers. It was an important victory.”
The Hawkeyes travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Thursday, Feb., 16. Game time is set for 7 p.m. (CT) and it will be televised live on Big Ten Network.