Jan. 8, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 17th-ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team bounced back to post a 73-59 victory over Purdue in front of 7,359 fans Sunday afternoon on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I want to give a shout-out (to the crowd), they were fabulous,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “They gave us great energy. When we were playing at Illinois (on Thursday), there was no energy or excitement.
“You come to Carver-Hawkeye Arena and you feel the energy. To see the people come out and support us even after a loss is great. Everyone was in the spirit with the whiteout, so that was a lot of fun.”
On a day when Iowa’s 3-point shots weren’t falling (they went 4-for-18), Iowa won with its defense. The Hawkeyes’ zone limited the Boilermakers to 34.5 percent shooting, had 11 steals, and forced 18 turnovers. Iowa turned the miscues into 20 points.
“We’ve been known sometimes to win with our 3-point shot, and it’s nice to win with something else, free throws and defense,” said Bluder. “Our defense was very good, deflections that led to steals that led to high percentage baskets.”
The Hawkeyes shot 42.6 percent from the field for the game; making 26-of-61 attempts, and went 17-of-19 from the free throw stripe. Iowa had 17 assists on its 26 field goals.
The Boilermakers stayed competitive with their rebounding. Purdue was plus-10 on the glass, out-rebounding the Hawkeyes, 44-34, which included 19 on the offensive glass. The Boilermakers turned the offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.
“They got too many offensive rebounds,” said Bluder. “… but the statistic is a little deceiving because we didn’t box out the first time, which is a problem. (They would get one offensive rebound) then they would get another one and another one because once you don’t have the positive, it’s hard to get the defensive box-out position.”
Senior Melissa Dixon led a trio of Hawkeyes in double figures, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Sophomore Ally Disterhoft scored 17 points, making 5-of-10 field goals, to go along with four assists, while senior Bethany Doolittle netted 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Senior Samantha Logic had six points and eight assists.
Iowa jumped out to a 7-2 lead over the first three minutes before Purdue scored eight-straight to build a 10-7 advantage at the 14:57 mark. The two teams traded leads over the next six minutes before the Hawkeyes surged.
With the scored tied at 16, Dixon caught fire. The senior made back-to-back 3-pointers to make the score 22-19 before converting a 3-point play at the 7:08 mark to push the Hawkeye advantage to 25-21. Iowa closed out the half by doubling up the Boilermakers to take a 10-point lead (37-27) into the locker room.
The Hawkeyes controlled the second half, extending their lead to 11 points (41-30) a little more than two minutes in. Purdue closed the gap to six points at the 15:51 mark courtesy of an Ashley Morrissette jumper before Iowa built its lead back to double digits two minutes later courtesy of a Logic pull-up jumper and a free throw and layup from Dixon.
Iowa led by at least eight points throughout the second half before opening up a 15-point advantage in the final minute.
Morrissette led a trio of Purdue players in double figures with 15 points, while forward Whitney Bays posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hawkeyes (12-3, 3-1) have a short turnaround, hosting Northwestern on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (CT).
“Northwestern is playing very confidently and is a very good basketball team,” said Bluder. “We know what we have in store for us, and we have two days to prepare for it.”