Nov. 14, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — On the No. 19 University of Iowa women’s basketball team loaded with weapons, it’s understandable if you can’t keep an eye on all of them.
Robert Morris won’t forget Hawkeye junior Kali Peschel anytime soon.
Peschel matched a career high with 15 points in the first half, staking Iowa to a 42-31 lead Sunday in a game it won 85-67 in a matchup of two NCAA qualifiers on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. She had six rebounds at the break.
“My teammates did an awesome job of finding me,” said Peschel, who finished with 19 points and eight boards. “The defense was out in the passing lanes, so they were able to hit me on the back door cuts. (Senior guard) Sam (Logic) played awesome and was able to find me.”
Logic posted her first somewhat unusual double-double of the season with 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
“When you look at a point guard having a double double, you don’t usually think rebounds and assists,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Well, that’s what Sam did for us today.”
Peschel and Logic weren’t the only Hawkeyes with games to remember. Senior guard Melissa Dixon scored 21 points with six 3-point field goals. In the process, she became the 32nd player in UI women’s basketball history to score at least 1,000 points.
“It means a lot, but it all goes back to my teammates and this program in general,” Dixon said of surpassing 1,000 career points. “Everyone we play with is so unselfish; it’s all about the team and that’s what Iowa basketball prides itself on. I have been able to benefit from that, so it goes all back to them.”
Robert Morris isn’t your typical early-season softy. The Colonials return four starters from a team that won 21 games a year ago and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Robert Morris led only once in the game — 14-13 at the 14:15 mark of the first half. It wasn’t until a flurry of eight straight points in the final 71 seconds before the break that the Hawkeyes had breathing room with their 11-point lead.
Dixon made back-to-back 3-point field goals in the stretch — both off assists from Logic — and Logic was 2-for-2 from the free throw line with 0.3 seconds left before halftime.
“I think our players on the floor did a great job with time management and knowing that they needed that quick score in order to get it back for another opportunity to score,” Bluder said.
Iowa (2-0 overall) won for the second time in three days; it was the season opener for Robert Morris.
The Hawkeyes shot 49.2 percent from the field (31-of-63) and outscored Robert Morris 40-20 in the paint. The Colonials were held to 37.5 percent from the floor with 10 field goals coming from beyond the arc. The Hawkeyes held a 43-32 advantage in rebounding.
Both teams showed off their depth with eight players logging double-digit minutes of playing time and a ninth with eight minutes. For the Hawkeyes, that meant freshmen Whitney Jennings (21 minutes), Christina Buttenham (10) and Chase Coley (eight) once again gaining valuable experience. Another freshman — Carly Mohns — played five minutes.
“You know, they’re growing. They’re getting better all the time,” Bluder said.
The Hawkeyes handled two games in three days well. Now they will face two games in two days at the Hawkeye Challenge. Iowa plays Pepperdine on Friday and the winner of Dayton/University of Tennessee Martin on Saturday. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“This week we only had one day to prepare for our opponent, and now we have no days to prepare,” Bluder said. “We have a shoot around to prepare, and you’ve got to be careful of your legs. So, we’re getting nine and ten people playing significant minutes, and that’s good.”