By DARREN MILLER
Columbus, Ohio — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team went toe-to-toe with a top opponent on the road for a third straight game Sunday, only to come up short, 88-81, against No. 13 Ohio State in front of 6,679 at Value City Arena.
The score was tied at 72 with 3:56 remaining. Iowa is 15-10 overall, 6-6 in the Big Ten; Ohio State improves to 22-5, 12-1.
Since the end of January, the Hawkeyes have dropped road games against No. 3 Maryland (100-81 on Jan. 29), No. 21 Michigan (72-70 on Feb. 5), and No. 13 Ohio State (88-81 on Feb. 12).
Senior Ally Disterhoft led Iowa with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. She sank 2-of-3 3-pointers, pulled down seven rebounds, and handed out three assists. Sophomore Megan Gustafson recorded her 13th double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She was 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
“I’m proud of our team, we came in here and fought,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.
Freshmen Makenzie Meyer and Kathleen Doyle also scored in double figures. Meyer made 6-of-7 field goals and all three 3-point attempts for 16 points; Doyle scored 11 points with a team-high six assists.
“The freshmen are growing every day, getting better,” Bluder said.
The Hawkeyes held the upper hand in many statistical categories: field goal percentage (47.7 to 47.0), 3-point percentage (46.2 to 37.5), and rebounds (39 to 36).
Iowa used eight players and continued to get valuable minutes from senior Alexa Kastanek (seven points and three rebounds in 11 minutes) and junior Chase Coley (six points, six rebounds in 16 minutes).
Like the Hawkeyes, four Ohio State players scored in double figures: Shayla Cooper (20), Kelsey Mitchell (20), Sierra Calhoun (19), and Kiara Lewis (11).
Iowa returns to action Thursday against Northwestern (17-7, 6-5) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. (CT). The Wildcats have lost their last two games.
“If we keep getting better every day in practice, we’ll take one game at a time,” Bluder said. “If we keep getting better at the rate we are now, we’re going to be a very good basketball team by the end of this month.”