Nov. 26, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
AUSTIN, Texas — The 21st-ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team withstood a fourth-quarter surge to notch its fifth victory — an 83-77 triumph over Wright State — on Thursday afternoon at the Lone Star Showcase.
The Hawkeyes led by as many as 21 points early in the third quarter before the Raiders surged. Wright State pulled to within eight points with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter and used a late 7-0 run to make it a single possession game with one minute to play.
Trailing 80-77, Wright State had a look from Kim Demmings from 3-point range with 18 seconds left. Sophomore Chase Coley secured the rebound, and sophomore Whitney Jennings made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to send Iowa to its fifth straight win to open the season.
“Any win is a good win at this point of the season,” said junior Alexa Kastanek. “I am proud of the team for sticking together and riding the rollercoaster that this game was. We came out on top and that is all we could ask for.”
The Hawkeyes had four players reach double figures in the contest. Coley had a team-high 22 points — her third straight game posting a career high — making 11-of-16 field goals, and had nine rebounds, Kastanek scored 18 points off six 3-pointers, freshman Tania Davis scored 13 points and had four assists, and junior Ally Disterhoft had 10 points and six rebounds.
Iowa had a higher field goal percentage (49.3 to 34.2) and 3-point field goal percentage (42.1 to 25), but Wright State stayed in the game with its rebounding and free throws.
“We shot the ball well from all three categories, but they shoot 26 free throws, we shoot 12,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “And the rebounds… they had more opportunity to shoot the ball because they crashed so well.”
The Raiders out-rebounded Iowa, 49-38, which led to nine more field goal attempts (76-67). Wright State converted 21 of its 26 free throws; Iowa was 9-of-12. The Raiders also scored 23 points off 17 Hawkeye turnovers.
“We didn’t do a good job on the boards today, which is unfortunate,” said Bluder. “Tomorrow we have to do a better job to beat George Washington.”
The Hawkeyes led 17-14 after the first quarter and 31-29 with 3:35 left in the first half. Iowa took control of the game, closing the half with a vengeance. The Hawkeyes reeled off a 14-1 run to take a 45-30 advantage into the locker room. Coley scored six points during the stretch, and Davis and Kastanek both made 3-pointers.
“Tania was a spark plug off the bench today,” said Bluder. “She had a career-high 13 points at the half.”
Coming out of the break, Iowa pushed its lead to 21 points twice with the final coming on a Disterhoft layup, making the score 53-32 two minutes into the third quarter.
“I am glad we had this type of game, we needed one,” said Coley. “We can’t go into a game and get up a little bit and cruise the rest of the way. It’s a reminder that just because we’re up, doesn’t mean a team can’t come back.”
Wright State made 9-of-10 free throws in the third quarter to pull to within striking distance. Kastanek and Coley then gave Iowa some breathing room.
Kastanek’s career-best sixth 3-pointer gave Iowa a 67-56 lead at the 8:57 mark and Coley’s layup pushed the lead to 71-56 with 8:02 left.
Demmings led a group of four Wright State players in double figures, making 11-of-27 field goals en route to a 28-point scoring output. She also had eight rebounds in 34 minutes.
The Hawkeyes now turn their attention to their physical recovery and mental preparation. Iowa’s short turnaround has it facing No. 20 George Washington at 1:30 p.m. (CT) Friday.
“We have to get a lot of rest (tonight),” said Kastanek. “We have to get in the ice baths and rest our legs as much as we can.”