By DARREN MILLER
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Iowa’s pursuit of a second Big Ten Conference women’s basketball road victory was put on hold by a massive Purdue comeback in front of 7,151 at Mackey Arena on Sunday.
The Hawkeyes (16-11 overall, 7-7 Big Ten) used two 9-0 runs in the first half and had a 10-point cushion at halftime, 35-25. But a nightmare final 20 minutes saw the Boilermakers (17-11, 8-6) go on a 47-17 tear and win, 72-52.
“I’m not sure what happened at halftime, but I think it has more to do with Purdue,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “They came out differently and we didn’t respond to that; give credit to Purdue.”
The Hawkeyes — 1-6 in league road games — return to the state of Indiana on Wednesday against Indiana (18-8, 8-5). The Hoosiers put their three-game winning streak on the line Sunday at Nebraska.
“We’re pretty wounded right now as far as pride,” Bluder said. “It will have to be our seniors trying to get them ready to play. This is the time of year when the seniors have to take over and they have to play with heart and passion and they have to be leaders on and off the floor.”
After getting down 4-2, Iowa turned things around with its first 9-0 streak to take an 11-4 lead. The first quarter ended with another 9-0 spurt; freshman Kathleen Doyle swished a 3-point field goal at the buzzer to put the Hawkeyes ahead, 23-12.
Things continued to go Iowa’s way in the second quarter. Senior Ally Disterhoft beat the buzzer with an offensive rebound and put-back that put the Hawkeyes on top by 10 heading into the locker room.
Then things unraveled quickly. The Boilermakers opened the third quarter on a 12-0 run and Iowa never regained its footing, or the lead.
“It was a mental thing, the aggressiveness,” Bluder said. “The first half we were aggressive, the second half (Purdue was) aggressive. They transitioned the ball well in the second half, they rebounded — we gave up 22 (more) rebounds in the second half. That is effort by Purdue, not just lack of effort by Iowa.”
For the game, Purdue held a 54-30 edge on the glass; 36-14 in the second half. Iowa shot 5-of-32 from the field in the second half, while Purdue made 16-of-35. In the first half, the Hawkeyes shot 45.7 percent (16-of-35).
Sophomore Megan Gustafson led Iowa with 20 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 4:22 remaining and the Hawkeyes trailing by 19. She also had five blocked shots and three steals. Freshman Makenzie Meyer scored 10 points and made 2-of-5 3-point field goals. Disterhoft and Doyle both scored nine points.
Boilermaker senior Ashley Morrissette scored a game-high 25 points — 13 coming in the second half — with six assists and six rebounds.
The Iowa-Indiana game will tip off at 6 p.m. (CT) from Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana.