Jan. 31, 2016
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By DARREN MILLER
EVANSTON, Ill. — Following a loss at Purdue on Jan. 24, the University of Iowa women’s basketball team got together and made a pledge: The final 10 regular season games from Jan. 28 to Feb. 27 would be a new season.
After two games, that new season is being dominated by the Hawkeyes.
Five Iowa players scored in double figures and the Hawkeyes (15-7 overall, 5-5 Big Ten) shot better than 50 percent from the field in both halves en route to a 79-64 victory Sunday in front of 2,016 in Welsh-Ryan Arena. More importantly, Iowa improves to 2-0 in its “new season” that began with an 85-69 win at home against Michigan on Jan. 28.
“We started to play Iowa basketball,” said UI sophomore Chase Coley, who scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. “We’re moving the ball better and people are starting to hit their shot. We get excited in our brand new season.”
Joining Coley in double figures for the Hawkeyes were junior Ally Disterhoft (18 points), freshman Megan Gustafson (15), sophomore Whitney Jennings (11), and freshman Tania Davis (11). The Hawkeyes shot 50 percent from the field in the first half (15-of-30) and 54 percent in the second half (14-of-26).
“We started all over after that loss (to Purdue) and we’re 2-0 now,” Gustafson said. “It feels good to get back out there and get a good win.”
Gustafson also pulled down 13 rebounds — including six offensive boards — for her second consecutive double-double.
“She is doing an unbelievable job battling in there,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said.
Northwestern’s Maggie Lyon made a 3-point field goal 11 seconds into the game, giving the Wildcats their only lead. The Hawkeyes led for 34 minutes, 13 seconds (there were seven ties). Northwestern falls to 13-9, 2-8.
Boosting Iowa’s shooting statistics were Coley (8-of-10), Disterhoft (6-of-10), and Davis (5-of-10).
The Hawkeyes also took care of the ball, committing just five turnovers in the second half against a Northwestern team that leads the Big Ten in steals. Iowa also held the Wildcats 13 points below their season scoring average.
“Our zone (defense) was very good today,” Bluder said.
Northwestern was limited to 34.7-percent shooting from the field, 16.7-percent from 3-point range.
UI sophomore Alexa Kastanek provided a spark off the bench with six assists and four rebounds in 21 minutes. Gustafson blocked three shots and the 5-foot-5 Jennings blocked two.
The Hawkeyes return to the road Thursday when they play Indiana (13-9, 5-5) at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. (CT). The Hoosiers, who are 9-0 at home this season, had a three-game win streak snapped Saturday at No. 5 Maryland, 86-63.
“We know Indiana is playing well,” Bluder said. “They are one of the surprise teams in the Big Ten with how well they are playing. We know it will be a battle.”