Feb. 5, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Defense was the difference when two of the top three scoring women’s basketball teams in the Big Ten Conference met Thursday inside Carver-Hawkeye.
No. 16 University of Iowa held Ohio State 16 points below its season scoring average and knocked off the Buckeyes, 73-65, on Mediacom Court. Ohio State freshman Kelsey Mitchell, who entered the game leading the NCAA in scoring at 26.0 points per game, was held to 15 (four at halftime), and Buckeye junior Ameryst Alston, who was averaging 20.6, scored 11. The duo shot 8-of-27 from the field.
“Our defensive effort was outstanding,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We kept track of them and did a good job communicating where they were.”
It was a key game in the league standings. Iowa improves to 18-4 overall, 9-2 in the Big Ten; Ohio State falls two games behind the Hawkeyes at 15-8, 7-4. The Buckeyes saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
Both teams featured four double-digit scorers. Sophomore Ally Disterhoft paced Iowa with 21 points, marking the fourth consecutive game she scored at least 20 points.
“Everyone’s scoring right now,” Disterhoft said. “We have had a lot of balance in the past games and that’s Iowa basketball. Driving, if you don’t have the drive, pitching. If you don’t have that 3-point shot look inside for (senior center Bethany Doolittle). That’s what we’re all about is moving the ball and playing unselfishly. It could be anyone on any given night.”
Doolittle posted a double-double with 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds (six offensive). She blocked five shots. Thanks in large part to Doolittle, Iowa won the rebounding battle, 46-43. It is the first time in six games that the Hawkeyes out-rebounded an opponent.
“I’m really happy with the defense and we won the rebounding war,” Bluder said.
Iowa led 41-29 at the break; its largest lead was 32-12 with 9:15 to go before halftime. Jennings led the Hawkeyes with 10 points (4-of-6 field goals) in 13 minutes.
“(The quick start) was big, we got our transition going,” Bluder said. “We forced some turnovers and got it going. Those are high-percentage shots for us, so that was good.”
Iowa forced 14 first-half turnovers (21 for the game), scoring 13 points. The Hawkeyes had an edge of 8-0 on fast break points and 13-8 in points off turnovers. Nearly half of Iowa’s points (20) came in the paint.
The Hawkeyes improved to 13-0 at home this season and they have won their last 16 regular-season games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We’re pleased with our effort,” Disterhoft said. “We’re happy we were able to defend our home court and protecting that when people come to play here. We did a good job of that.”
Three Hawkeyes achieved individual milestones: Dixon moved into third in Big Ten history with 296 3-point field goals, Logic is now fifth in Big Ten history with 787 assists, and with 238 career blocked shots, Doolittle moves into second in program history.
Mitchell led Ohio State in scoring with 15 points to go along with nine turnovers. Alexa Hart (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Shayla Cooper (11 points, 11 rebounds) had double-doubles in a losing cause.
Next up for the Hawkeyes is a Big Ten game at Wisconsin (8-13, 4-7) on Sunday at 2 p.m. (CT). The Badgers won at Illinois, 73-62, their last time out Feb. 1 in Champaign, Illinois.
Current Hawkeyes Logic and freshman Carly Mohns are from the Badger State.
“That means a lot to us whenever we play in someone’s home state,” Bluder said. “We want to make them proud that they left their home state and chose us. It has been a good recruiting area for us so we want to shine there.”