Nov. 28, 2013
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CANCUN, Mexico — Not only did the University of Iowa women’s basketball team get to the free throw line Thursday, but the Hawkeyes made Southern California pay.
Three players scored in double figures leading Iowa past Southern California, 78-65, in the first round of the Cancun Challenge (Mayan Tournament) at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.
The Hawkeyes doubled USC at the free throw line, making 17-of-20, while the Trojans converted 8-of-10.
“We came out and we shot the ball well. That felt good because we haven’t shot the ball as well as we’re capable of this year,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I knew it was a matter of time before we started hitting them.”
Junior Samantha Logic scored a game-high 22 points with seven assists and she was 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Junior Melissa Dixon scored 18 points with three 3-pointers, and senior Theairra Taylor added 12 points. Center Bethany Doolittle was limited to 17 minutes before fouling out. That meant more playing time for sophomore Claire Till, and she responded with 24 minutes, seven points (3-of-3 free throws) and three rebounds.
Taylor opened the game’s scoring with a layup off a Logic assist. The Hawkeyes never trailed and built double-digit leads in both halves, leading by as many as 13 in the first and 17 in the second. Dixon made her first two 3-point attempts that gave the Hawkeyes leads of 12-3 and 15-7.
“It was nice to see Melissa Dixon heating up for us early,” Bluder said.
Then Logic took over, making 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. For the game, Iowa made 9-of-22 from long range (40.9 percent). The Hawkeyes sank 43.3 percent from the field, an improvement over their 33.3-percent effort at Northern Iowa on Nov. 24.
The Hawkeyes are now 6-1, 4-1 all-time in the Cancun Challenge; USC slipped to 3-2.
“This was a good team we beat — credit to them — they will do great things this season,” Logic said. “It builds confidence for our next two games.”
The Hawkeyes return to action Friday against Boston College (3-2). The Eagles opened the tournament with a 75-54 win against UNC-Wilmington. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. (CT).
“The USC game was the most important game, now Boston College is the most important game for us,” Bluder said. “We’re going to have to be careful about getting a lot of rest and mentally preparing for this next game rather than physically preparing.”