By DARREN MILLER
EVANSTON, Ill. — Scoring balance and an effective inside-outside game lifted the University of Iowa women’s basketball team to a 77-51 win over Northwestern on Sunday in Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The result tightens the already balanced Big Ten Conference standings. It is the first league loss for Northwestern (12-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten), which five days earlier defeated preseason favorite Maryland by 23 points. Iowa improved to 11-3, 2-1 with its 11th win over Northwestern in the last 12 meetings.
After three games, six Big Ten teams have a league record of 2-1.
Four Hawkeyes scored in double figures, led by sophomore center Monika Czinano with 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field. Senior Kathleen Doyle scored 15 points, followed by freshman McKenna Warnock with 12 and senior Amanda Ollinger with 11. With 10 rebounds, Ollinger now has a double-double for points and rebounds in two straight games.
Iowa made 9 of 14 3-point field goals and had 24 assists on 29 made field goals. The Hawkeyes are fourth in the nation with 21.5 assists per game. Iowa’s senior backcourt of Doyle (seven assists) and Makenzie Meyer (six) combined for 13 assists.
“It was a variety of people and everybody getting involved in the offense,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.
Northwestern was led in scoring by Lindsey Pulliam with 25 points.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“Road wins are special and hard to come by in the Big Ten. We did a good job of moving hard in our zone; we arrived to the ball with hands up, so we contested every shot. We were aware where shooters were all the time and moved hard on the pass.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa was hot from the field, Northwestern was not. The Hawkeyes made 54 percent of their field goal attempts (29 of 54), while the Wildcats made just 36 percent (20 of 56).
“We shot the ball well, which always helps,” Bluder said. “I think we caught (Northwestern) on a bad shooting night, too. Northwestern is a better shooting team than what they showed tonight.”
WORTH NOTING I
Doyle’s seven assists gives her 602 for her career, second-most in Iowa women’s basketball history. The all-time Hawkeye leader is Samantha Logic with 898.
WORTH NOTING II
Northwestern’s defense entered Sunday’s game averaging just 51 points per game. Iowa’s point total was the most allowed by the Wildcats this season and just the second time they have given up 70-or-more points in a game. The other was a 70-68 loss to DePaul on Dec. 1.
The Hawkeyes will put their 28-game home winning streak on the line Thursday against No. 11/12 Maryland. Tip-off from Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena is 7 p.m. (CT). The Terrapins are 10-3 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten. They host Ohio State on Monday.
PHOTOS OF THE GAME