Nov. 22, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
CEDAR FALLS Iowa — A step forward.
The University of Iowa women’s basketball team got off to a 9-point lead in the first quarter, used a perfect shooting performance from junior Alexa Kastanek and a double-double from sophomore Chase Coley to defeat Northern Iowa, 80-65, on Sunday in the McLeod Center.
“I thought we made a step forward,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said of the Hawkeyes’ first road victory of the season. “What is important is taking that step forward and we did that.”
No. 23 Iowa improved to 4-0 overall, Northern Iowa is now 2-1.
Kastanek poured in a team-high 22 points by making all eight field goal attempts (4-of-4 from three-point range). Coley scored 16 points with 14 rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
“They both had career nights,” Bluder said. “Chase had a career high in everything and did a super job. What do you say about Lex? She was perfect from the field, so she did a very good job as well. I’m happy for both of those players.”
The Hawkeyes led by nine points in the first quarter and by as many as 14 in the second quarter, halting a trend of slow starts in the previous three games.
“It was important for us to get the monkey off our backs because we have had these slow starts,” Bluder said. “I didn’t want to talk about it a lot and hammer it home, the team was aware of it.”
Iowa shot 50 percent from the field (30-of-60) while holding the Panthers to 30.8 percent shooting (20-of-65). The Hawkeyes won the battle of the boards, 50-32. Coley pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds (four offensive, 10 defensive).
“We went out with the mentality that we were going to out-work (UNI),” Coley said.
Sophomore Whitney Jennings finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Like Jennings, senior Kali Peschel and freshman Megan Gustafson committed four fouls. Peschel played just 19 minutes and Gustafson played 10.
The Hawkeyes led by 19 points (70-51) after Coley converted a layup with 7:55 left in the game. Iowa held a 48-36 lead at halftime; junior Ally Disterhoft scored eight of her 15 points a first quarter that saw the Hawkeyes make 11 of 18 field goals.
“We shot the ball well,” Bluder said. “It was our first road game and our first in-state game. I thought our players came out and played inspired.”
The Hawkeyes travel to Austin, Texas, for the Lone Star Showcase where they play Wright State, George Washington, and Houston from Nov. 26-28.
“Having three games in three days will test our conditioning and depth,” Bluder said. “It will be important to get that first (win).”