Jan. 14, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
The three University of Iowa senior women’s basketball players completed their trademark plays within 22 seconds of each other Wednesday giving the No. 21 Hawkeyes an 18-point second half cushion over Northwestern in a game they won, 83-70, in front of 4,027 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
With the win Iowa improves to 10-0 at home this season and secured sole possession of second place in the Big Ten at 13-3 overall, 4-1 in league play. The Wildcats fell to 13-3, 3-2.
Doolittle scored a game-high and career-high 29 points on 13-of-20 shooting from the field with 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Dixon scored 13 points and was 3-of-7 from beyond the arc; Logic added 11 rebounds and nine assists.
It wasn’t just the Hawkeye seniors who played key roles. Freshman Whitney Jennings scored 10 points and made a jumper at the end of the first half giving Iowa a 41-38 lead — and energy.
“It was nice going into the locker room with that momentum shot,” Bluder said.
Freshman Chase Coley was 2-for-2 from the field, scoring four points in four minutes; junior Kali Peschel made her only 3-point attempt and pulled down three rebounds in 13 minutes; junior Claire Till had two offensive rebounds and two points in six minutes.
“Claire and Chase came off the bench and gave us good momentum as well,” Bluder said. “(Northwestern) was making a run and Kali had a big 3 and followed that up with a rebound at the other end, so that was good.”
Sophomore Ally Disterhoft scored 16 points with five rebounds and three assists and Jennings finished with six assists and four rebounds.
Northwestern entered the game averaging 56.8 points per game and the Wildcats defeated two of the three opponents that scored more than 80 points against them. The Hawkeyes found space in Northwestern’s zone defense and totaled 40 points in the paint.
“We did a good job watching our cutters and watching them all the way down into the paint,” Bluder said.
The majority of the damage down low came from Doolittle, who scored 16 points in the second half to go with 13 in the first.
“I tried to go to the basket a little stronger in this game and it worked out for us,” Doolittle said. “I looked for the open spots in the zone and saw what I could do.”
It also helps to have an outside presence like Dixon in the lineup. She added three 3-point field goals, giving her 276 for her career.
“When you have an in-out combination like that, it is going to be tough to guard,” said Logic, who now has 733 career assists. “Anyone can go off on this team on any day. It is tough for teams to defend when we can have five double-digit scorers.”
Disterhoft, Dixon, Jennings, and Doolittle have all led the Hawkeyes in scoring at least once this season (Dixon has done it eight times).
Iowa shot 50.8 percent from the field (33-of-65) and corralled 44 rebounds. It was the best shooting night for the Hawkeyes since making 51.8 percent at Rutgers on Jan. 4 and it is the most rebounds since grabbing 45 against Pepperdine on Nov. 21. Iowa’s biggest lead was 64-44 with 11:27 remaining.
While the Hawkeyes controlled the final 20 minutes, Northwestern had the upper hand most of the first half. The Wildcats built a 16-9 advantage seven minutes into the game. Iowa — which shot 50 percent from the field in the first half (19-of-38) — took the lead for good 6:51 before halftime on a Dixon 3. That made the score 26-23 and the Hawkeyes built that to eight points four minutes later.
Northwestern was led in scoring by Alex Cohen and Maggie Lyon with 16 points apiece. Nia Coffey added 12 points and 15 rebounds, but made just 4-of-22 from the field.
Iowa plays Michigan State (8-8, 0-5) on Sunday in East Lansing, Michigan. Tip-off is 2 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
“The thing I know about (Michigan State head coach) Suzy Merchant, she’s a competitor and she will have them ready,” Bluder said. “There will be 7,000 or 8,000 people in a hostile environment. This might be one of the more hostile environments that we go into.”