Nov. 29, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Freshman Whitney Jennings poured in 19 points — 10 in the second half — to lead the No. 16 University of Iowa women’s basketball team to a 79-67 victory over Gonzaga on Saturday at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in South Point Arena.
The Hawkeyes improved to 6-1 on the season, Gonzaga fell to 3-2.
Jennings made 7-of-9 field goals with two steals.
Senior center Bethany Doolittle posted a double-double with 12 rebounds and 10 points. She pulled down six offensive boards.
“I’m happy for her to get a double-double, but I’m thrilled she had six offensive rebounds — she had three each half for us tonight,” Bluder said. “We need to get Beth on the glass more; we need her to give us more offensive boards and she responded. Yesterday we really got on her about it and she responded extremely well today.”
Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures: Jennings, Doolittle, senior Samantha Logic (16), senior Melissa Dixon (13), and sophomore Ally Disterhoft (12). Dixon made four 3-point field goals to move into third all-time in school history from beyond the arc. Logic was named to the all-tournament team.
Iowa won the turnover battle, 21-12, but was out-rebounded, 49-37. Gonzaga pulled down 21 offensive rebounds.
The Hawkeyes shot 41 percent from the field and made 20-of-28 attempts from the line. They held Gonzaga to 32.8-percent from the field and 22.7 percent from 3-point range.
“I am very happy with the defensive effort out here,” Bluder said. “I thought we communicated well, I thought we had great help side, we got into some foul trouble, had to have some different lineups than we have had throughout the year. I thought our zone defense was better than what it has been in the past.”
Iowa took an eight-point lead into the locker room at halftime, 39-31, behind nine points by Jennings. The guard court of Jennings, Dixon (seven points), and Logic (seven) combined to score 23 points while making 9-of-14 field goals and 4-of-8 3-pointers.
Gonzaga scored the first four points in 49 seconds; the Hawkeyes led by 15 points (35-20) with 6:06 left in the first half.
Iowa shot 50 percent from the field (15-of-30) in the first 20 minutes and benefitted from 16 points off the bench.
The Hawkeyes remain on the road Thursday, Dec. 4, when they play at Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Their next home game is Dec. 7 against Colorado.
“That will be our first true road game; these have been on neutral court so now we’re going into a hostile environment,” Bluder said. “We’re going to have to battle the fans. We learned to overcome adversity a little bit this weekend.”
Iowa opened the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout with a 77-67 loss to Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated Richmond, 77-54, on Saturday.
“We had a lot of adversity with foul trouble the loss against Arkansas, yet they stayed focused and bounced back,” Bluder said. “That is where you see character, in how you come back from failure and I thought they bounced back well today.”