Nov. 28, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
AUSTIN, Texas — Four Hawkeyes scored in double figures, leading the No. 21 University of Iowa women’s basketball team to a 64-50 win over Houston on Saturday in the Lone Star Showcase at the Cedar Park Center.
Iowa finished 2-1, placed first in the tournament’s red bracket, and leaves Texas with a record of 6-1 overall. Houston fell to 1-5.
The Hawkeyes won the red bracket after Wright State defeated George Washington on Saturday, leaving three teams with a 2-1 record. Iowa won because it was +16 in points in its three games, Wright State was +14, and George Washington was +2.
“We learned playing three games in three days is not easy,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We need to learn from that, but this early in the year when you play this many games in a row it’s hard to get back in the gym and work on your fundamentals and work on things you didn’t do correctly in the game before. We didn’t get that opportunity and it showed (against Houston).”
UI junior Ally Disterhoft scored a game-high 15 points. She made 6-of-7 free throws and grabbed six rebounds. Junior Alexa Kastanek added 13 points and five rebounds; she pulled down five rebounds. Junior Carly Mohns and freshman Megan Gustafson scored 11 points apiece. Mohns made 5-of-7 field goals and established a career-high in scoring; Gustafson grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and sank 5-of-6 free throws.
“An ugly win for sure, but it’s a win,” Disterhoft said. “Houston is a physical team and they kept the pressure on the entire game. There are a lot of things we need to fix, but we’ll fix them.”
The Hawkeyes got off to a fast shooting start and finished by making 39 percent from the field (20-of-52) — 14 points higher than Houston’s 25 percent (20-of-79).
One area of concern is the assist (12)-to-turnover (17) ration for the Hawkeyes. On the bright side, after falling behind in the rebounding battle 18-9 in the first quarter, Iowa fought back and tied that at 46 for the game.
“We know can rebound and we know we can box out,” Disterhoft said. “You see the energy pick up when we’re crashing and we can’t get away from that assist-first mentality that has always been a staple of Iowa basketball.”
Iowa closed the first half by making its final four field goals and two free throws to take a 38-23 lead. The Hawkeyes made 5-of-12 from 3-point range and they were 3-of-3 in the final 1:41 of the second quarter with Mohns, Kastanek, and Peschel all connecting from distance.
At halftime Iowa was shooting 54 percent from the field (13-of-24) while Houston was successful just 20 percent of the time (9-of-45). The Cougars excelled on the boards early, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone (and holding an 18-9 edge after 10 minutes).
Kastanek had nine points and the break, followed by Disterhoft with eight, and Gustafson and Mohns with seven apiece. Mohns was 3-of-3 from the floor. Chase Coley was held scoreless, but she led Iowa with five rebounds.
“A win is a win. I don’t think we got better today and that’s kind of unfortunate,” Bluder said. “I thought Carly Mohns came in and played well for us, that was nice to see. Megan was our leading rebounder off the bench, that was nice to see.”
The Hawkeyes return to the road Wednesday, Dec. 2, after playing three games in three days on a neutral site. Iowa takes on Virginia in the B1G/ACC Challenge in Charlottesville, Virginia, beginning at 7 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes return home Sunday, Dec. 6 against Robert Morris beginning at 1 p.m.