Feb. 7, 2016
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 14 Michigan State was 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 24 seconds, allowing the Spartans to escape with a 74-69 victory Sunday in Big Ten Conference women’s basketball in front of 6,255 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Both teams shot better than 49 percent from the field and both teams showed off an aggressive, up-tempo, and physical style.
“We did a lot of good things,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “Michigan State is a great team and we played competitively with them for most of this game. We had too many turnovers at inopportune times.”
One of the most costly came with 16 seconds remaining and the Hawkeyes trailing, 70-67, when Michigan State’s Aerial Powers came up with the ball, was fouled, and made two free throws.
Iowa dips to 15-9 overall, 5-7 in the Big Ten. Michigan State is 18-5, 9-3. The Spartans won the first meeting, 80-73, on Jan. 16 in East Lansing, Michigan.
The Hawkeyes closed the first half on a 10-0 run and went into the locker room with a 32-29 lead. Iowa trailed 29-22 when Chase Coley sank a field goal with 4:12 left in the second quarter. That was followed by field goals from Whitney Jennings, Ally Disterhoft, and Tania Davis and a free throw by Coley.
The Spartans were ahead, 27-18, with 6:26 left in the first half. But while Michigan State mis-fired on five of its last six field goal attempts in the second quarter, Iowa made five of its last eight. The streak by the Hawkeyes was 14-2 over the final 5:46 of the half.
“I thought the last 10 minutes of the second quarter were outstanding,” Bluder said. “We went into the locker room with great momentum.”
Michigan State led, 51-50, with 10 minutes remaining. Iowa made 8-of-13 field goals in the fourth quarter, but was still out-scored, 23-19. The Hawkeyes were 2-of-5 from the line and committed seven turnovers.
“We’re a young team and we’re going to continue to get better,” said Disterhoft, who finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots. “I don’t think anyone is ever satisfied with a loss. We have to keep working.”
Six of Disterhoft’s seven boards were offensive. Iowa held a 35-29 advantage on the glass.
The Hawkeyes grabbed their largest lead at 55-51 with 9:19 remaining. Coley grabbed a defensive rebound and moments later Davis converted a layup, was fouled, and converted the traditional three-point play.
Coley and Davis finished with 13 points and Jennings added 10 points (2-of-4 from distance) with a team-high four assists. Coley pulled down six rebounds with four steals and Davis was 5-for-5 from the line with five rebounds. Megan Gustafson collected eight rebounds, seven points, and two blocked shots.
Michigan State was led by Powers, who made 10-of-18 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws for 25 points.
The Spartans started two seniors, two juniors, and a sophomore, compared to the Hawkeyes, who started a junior, a sophomore, and three freshmen.
“We are a young team,” Disterhoft said. “We’re close. It’s frustrating because we have been so close for a while. Good things will happen eventually if we keep grinding.”
Iowa remains at home Thursday when the Hawkeyes play Big Ten co-leader and No. 7-ranked Ohio State (18-4, 10-1) beginning at 7:30 p.m. (CT). It is the first time Iowa has played back-to-back home games since defeating Bradley and Drake on Dec. 19 and Dec. 22. The Buckeyes host the other Big Ten co-leader, Maryland (21-2, 10-1), tomorrow (Feb. 8).