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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Balanced playing time and balanced scoring led the University of Iowa women’s basketball team to an 84-51 victory over Hampton on Sunday in front of 3,522 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
It is a similar approach the Hawkeyes used to secure a 96-76 season-opening victory two days earlier against Oral Roberts.
Iowa won by 33 points over the Pirates and held a 22-point advantage in points off the bench.
“Eleven players basically in double-figure minutes; I love that our bench outscored their bench 32-10,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I love the depth of this basketball team. I think we’re really showcasing that right now.”
Senior Ally Disterhoft led the way for the Hawkeyes with 16 points, six rebounds, and three assist. For sophomore Megan Gustafson, it was another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Tania Davis was 5-of-6 from the field, scoring 15 points with five assists, and sophomore Hannah Stewart was 5-of-6 with 10 points.
It is a career-high in points for Stewart who scored five points in 12 games last season
“Hannah has really enjoyed moving to the five position,” Bluder said. “She has embraced that and she’s taking good shots. She’s playing physical and having fun.”
Iowa’s starting unit of Disterhoft, Davis, Gustafson, and freshmen Makenzie Meyer and Bre Cera played logged between 21-24 minutes of court time. A second wave of senior Alexa Kastanek, juniors Chase Coley and Christina Buttenham, Stewart, and freshman Kathleen Doyle played between 10-18 minutes, and freshman Amanda Ollinger saw nine minutes.
“If you want to have success with such a young team, they’ve got to produce,” Bluder said. “In the last couple games we’ve been able to give them good playing experience and good confidence on the floor. That’s been good for us.”
Bluder reiterated that the coaching staff will re-evaluate the platoon system after watching film of the first two games.
The Hawkeyes shot 56.5 percent from the field against Hampton, making 50 percent or above in three of four quarters. They outscored the Pirates 60-18 in the paint and grabbed 19 more rebounds (54-35).
Coley turned in an impressive line with 10 rebounds and seven points in 16 minutes.
“I feel I have a different role this year, and one thing coming in with that second group, I feel my job is to keep the energy rolling from the first group into the second group,” Coley said. “When one person gets a little energy, it sparks the rest of the team and that’s my goal on the court right now.”
Iowa went on a 15-6 run over the final five minutes of the second quarter to grab a 44-32 lead at halftime. Disterhoft led the Hawkeyes with 10 points, followed by Davis with nine points and three assists and Gustafson with eight points and six rebounds.
Iowa shot 73.3 percent from the field in the second quarter (11-of-15) and 61.3 percent (19-of-31) in the first half.
The Hawkeyes closed the final 3:13 of the third quarter on an 8-0 run to pull away, 63-44.
The Hawkeyes return to action Wednesday with a rare midweek nonconference road game against North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks lost at home to Drake, 99-91, on Nov. 11, and lost at Texas Tech, 90-80, on Nov. 13.
“Our Big Ten Conference schedule went to 16 games from 18, so that means we have to get 13 nonconference games in between Friday and Christmas,” Bluder said. “That’s a lot of basketball in a short amount of time. In fact, we’re playing eight games between last Friday and Dec. 1. It’s a lot of basketball, so it creates midweek opportunities.”
Iowa hosts the Hawkeye Challenge from Nov. 19-20, opening against Massachusetts on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (CT).