Dec. 5, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — A dose of Doolittle in the first half and Dixon in the second was just what the doctor ordered Thursday as the No. 25 University of Iowa women’s basketball team defeated No. 22 Syracuse 97-91 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The doctor also spent a good chunk of the first half sewing eight stitches into the right side of junior Samantha “Timex” Logic’s forehead. Logic lost part of a tooth during an overtime win against No. 14 Dayton on Nov. 10; she was bloodied and bandaged during another win over a nationally ranked foe — but in Timex fashion, she takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
“I wasn’t in the right place at the right time a couple times now,” said Logic, who scored 14 points with seven assists. “I don’t know if I have to get better at that? We beat two ranked teams, though.”
For the second game in a row, junior guard Melissa Dixon tied the school record with seven 3-point field goals — all coming during a second half where she scored 27 points. The first half belonged to junior center Bethany Doolittle who scored 17 points and finished with 25.
Iowa won for a fifth consecutive time to raise its record to 9-1; it was the first loss in nine tries for Syracuse, which entered the game with a plus-32.3 scoring average.
“We did a good job in the second half of handling their zone,” Dixon said. “Putting Beth in the middle opened everything up and I was open a lot more on the wing. We moved the ball around well. No one cares who scores, we just want to win so bad. We worry more about the assists than who scores.”
Iowa took a 2-0 lead on a jumper by Doolittle, who gave the Hawkeyes a lead five times in the first half. She made 8-of-11 field goals in the first 20 minutes and added four rebounds and three blocked shots.
Logic left the game at the 13:55 mark of the first half with Iowa leading 13-11; she returned seven minutes later with Syracuse leading 32-23.
“Beth was outstanding in the first half,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We needed to keep getting the ball inside when she is shooting the ball that well. (Syracuse) was using a lot of clock (with Logic out), walking the ball up the court and that might have been to our advantage. When Sam’s in the locker room, that’s not a bad time (for us) to melt some time off the clock.”
The Hawkeyes trailed 37-23 with 5:05 remaining in the first half against an undefeated opponent that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Iowa took the lead for good when Logic converted a layup with 6:09 left for a 77-76 Hawkeye lead.
“We kept believing out there the entire time,” Bluder said. “Everybody contributed to this win.”
Included was praise for freshman Alexa Kastanek, who Bluder credited for playing the best game of her 10-game collegiate career. Kastanek saw 15 minutes of action with six points; her second 3-point field goal cut the Orange’s lead to 42-37 with 49 seconds left in the first half.
Iowa was credited with 28 assists on 33 field goals.
“We are good at finding teammates in the offense,” Doolittle said. “We have been working hard on our zone offense and getting our spacing right and using assists to our advantage.”
The Hawkeyes shot 50 percent from the field for the game (33-of-66) and 58.1 percent in the second half (18-of-31). Iowa was 8-of-15 from beyond the arc in during the final 20 minutes.
Brittney Sykes scored 25 points with 10 rebounds and five assists to lead Syracuse.
Iowa remains at home to face Idaho State on Saturday, Dec. 7, with a 2 p.m. (CT) start in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Bengals (2-5) lost to Drake, 78-59, on Thursday in Des Moines.
“We only have one day to prepare for that game as well,” Bluder said. “We’ll be ready for them.”