Jan. 18, 2015
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By MATT WEITZEL
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team scored its last six points from the free throw line over the final 8:58 and held off a late-surge by Michigan State to post a 52-50 road win at the Breslin Center. The 50 points are the fewest points scored by the Spartans this season.
Iowa’s win was Iowa’s first in East Lansing in 11 years and its first of the season when scoring fewer than 70 points.
With Iowa leading 49-45, Iowa forced Michigan State’s third consecutive turnover when senior Bethany Doolittle took a charge with 46 seconds left. After Samantha Logic missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Michigan State’s Anna Morrissey buried a corner baseline 3-pointer to cut the Hawkeye lead to 49-48 with 19 seconds left.
A pair of Melissa Dixon free throws with seven seconds left extended Iowa’s lead to 51-48. Rather than allowing Michigan State to attempt a game-tying triple, Iowa elected to foul Tori Jankoska, who made both free throws. Ally Disterhoft was fouled with 0.5 seconds left and split the two foul shots to provide the final score, 52-50.
“It wasn’t pretty but it’s a win,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “When you go on the road and you win with defense and rebounding, I’m not going to complain about that. I know our offense is there and will return; that’s not a problem. We outrebounded this team both defensively and offensively and those are great numbers.”
Logic and Dixon each scored 13 points to lead the Hawkeyes, while Disterhoft added 12 points and seven rebounds.
“We practice those situations all the time, end of the game up-one, up-two… everyone has to know we are on the same page and you have to remain calm so we can execute,” said Logic.
Iowa’s offense went cold the last 8:58, being held without a field goal and committing five turnovers. However, the Hawkeyes made six free throws and were resilient defensively to hold on for its second league road win of the season.
Iowa (14-3, 5-1) was held 28 points below its season scoring average today. Bluder said Michigan State did a great job on help defense.
“We couldn’t get any flow in our game,” Bluder said. “We were stagnant on offense, they were playing a lot of help defense, didn’t give us any drive opportunities and we didn’t shoot the 3-ball well today.”
With Iowa leading 40-38, lay-ups by Whitney Jennings, Logic, and Kali Peschel gave the Hawkeyes some breathing room pushing the Hawkeye advantage to eight (46-38) with 8:59 remaining. Iowa’s defense stepped up during that span, holding the Spartans scoreless for 5:26. Michigan State missed five straight shots, while Iowa forced three turnovers during that stretch.
Michigan State (9-9, 1-6) was led by Aerial Powers, who finished with a game-high 16 points. After netting 11 in the first half, the Hawkeyes limited to her to five in the second half.
“I thought our zone defense was aware of (Powers),” Bluder said. “We identified her, found her in the zone so she wouldn’t have any open looks.”
Michigan State started the game on a 7-2 run, but Iowa responded and ultimately took a 31-27 halftime lead into the locker room. The Hawkeyes played a majority of the first stanza without the services of Doolittle, who was whistled for her second foul at the 8:14 mark and sat the remainder of the half.
Logic fueled the Hawkeye offense in the first half, scoring 11 points, including an acrobatic one-handed shot as the shot clock was winding down at the 2:08 mark of the half to give Iowa a 29-22 lead. A pair of Logic free throws 39 seconds later gave the visitors their largest lead of the half (31-22). The Spartans scored the final five points of the half.
“We found a way to win,” said Logic. “Michigan State is a very good basketball team. We’re always going to take an ugly win over a pretty loss.”
Iowa returns to action Thursday when it hosts Michigan in the only regular season meeting between the schools. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be televised nationally on BTN (BTN2GO).