Feb. 24, 2016
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By DARREN MILLER
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Road woes continued for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team Wednesday in front of 2,812 inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Hawkeyes were in a 25-point hole with 3:56 left in the third quarter and fell for the second time this season to Penn State, 81-68. Iowa has dropped three in a row and five of six away from home.
The loss is damaging for Iowa’s NCAA Tournament hopes as it slips to 17-12 overall, 7-10 in the Big Ten. Penn State improves to 11-17, 6-11.
“We weren’t ready to start this game for some reason,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We have to figure it out and be ready right from the tip.”
UI junior Ally Disterhoft scored 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Freshman Megan Gustafson turned in her sixth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. She was 7-of-9 from the field. Junior Alexa Kastanek scored in double figures for just the second time in the last 15 games with 10 points.
“Lex came in and gave us a good spark in the second half,” Bluder said. “She hit a couple 3s for us; we had been cold from 3-point range lately.”
The Hawkeyes shot 53 percent from the field (28-of-53) — 64 percent in the second half — and made seven 3-point field goals. They handed out 24 assists on 28 field goals, but shot just eight free throws compared to 22 by Penn State and committed 22 turnovers.
“It’s taking care of the ball, transition defense, and keeping them off the free throw line,” Bluder said.
The Hawkeyes trailed by 18 at halftime, 41-23.
Penn State was led in scoring by Candice Agee with 21 points. Agee entered the game averaging 6.1 points per game.
UI sophomore Whitney Jennings handed out six assists, Kastanek had five, and senior Kali Peschel added four.
Iowa closes the regular season against Illinois (9-19, 2-15) on Saturday at 5 p.m. (CT) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It is Senior Night for the Hawkeyes, who will recognize Peschel, Nicole Smith, and Claire Till.
“It’s get to the film room and start breaking down Illinois,” Bluder said. “We’ll start working on Illinois once we get done watching this game film on the way back on the plane.”