Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch 2016-17 | Hawk Talk Monthly — Nov. 2016 | Buy Women’s Basketball Tickets | BOX SCORE (PDF) | Photo Gallery | Postgame Transcript | Boxscore
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — After spotting Oral Roberts a brief 2-0 lead Friday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the University of Iowa women’s basketball team painted a 96-76 season-opening victory that included a 32-point advantage in paint points.
The result makes UI head coach Lisa Bluder a perfect 17-for-17 in season openers.
The Hawkeyes (1-0 overall) were powered by career-high point totals from senior Ally Disterhoft (29) and sophomore Megan Gustafson (25). The duo combined to make 19-of-24 from the floor and 16-of-19 from the line.
Three times during the first half an emergency alarm inadvertently sounded inside the arena. The situation made for a light postgame response from Disterhoft.
“Megan was pretty hot at the time,” Disterhoft said. “I was not entirely surprised the alarms were going off.”
Instead of Iowa doing a stop, drop, and roll, the Hawkeyes stopped, but then kept popping baskets and rolling to its largest point total since defeating Michigan 97-85 in the Big Ten Tournament on March 3, 2016.
Iowa shot 50 percent from the field (34-of-68) with Disterhoft leading the way by making 9-of-10 field goals. Gustafson was 10-of-14 from the field and sophomore point guard Tania Davis was 6-of-10 and finished with 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
“I love balanced scoring,” Bluder said. “I think we’re much harder to guard when we have balanced scoring, but we had three people in double figures and one person at eight. Every game is different depending on your opponent, but our goal is to have more people in double figures.”
Disterhoft’s previous high was 26 points at Iowa State on Dec. 11, 2015; Gustafson also scored 25 against Michigan last March.
Bluder said her team will continue to employ its five-in, five-out platoon system Sunday against Hampton and then evaluate Monday if the Hawkeyes will continue with that pattern.
“We don’t have time to make a lot of changes when you only have one day to prepare for your next opponent,” Bluder said.
The “fresh legs philosophy” that led to platooning seemed to pay dividends in the final quarter as Iowa shot 61.5 percent from the field (8-of-13).
Another area of strength for the Hawkeys was rebounding. Iowa was plus-19 (55 to 36) after out-rebounding Lewis University by 30 in an exhibition game Nov. 6. Gustafson reached a double-double with 12 rebounds (four offensive), followed by Disterhoft with seven and Davis, junior Chase Coley, and freshman Bre Cera with five apiece.
“We’re doing a great job on the boards,” Bluder said. “We’re more aggressive going after the ball than we were in the past and I like to see that. Everybody’s kind of getting involved in the offense or into the rebounding. At halftime I thought we’d given up too many offensive rebounds (nine), but I thought we did a better job in the second half.”
Coley had a productive 13 minutes, scoring eight points with five rebounds, and three assists. Davis and freshman Kathleen Doyle led Iowa with four assists apiece.
The Hawkeyes built a 53-30 advantage at halftime when they out-scored Oral Roberts 24-6 in the paint. At that point, Gustafson already had 17 points and nine rebounds and Disterhoft added 14 points. They finished with 50 points in the paint compared to 18 by the Golden Eagles.
Kaylan Mayberry led four Oral Roberts players in double figures with 18 points.
Iowa returns to action Sunday against Hampton at noon (CT). The Pirates lost 67-48 at Northwestern on Friday.