Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
It was a dizzying afternoon in the Crisler Center on Saturday when host Michigan raced to a 13-0 lead in a crucial Big Ten Conference women's basketball game. The University of Iowa countered to go ahead 49-33 with 16:36 remaining, Michigan regained a 62-58 edge with 6:49 left, and then the Hawkeyes won by four, 74-70.
Iowa improved to 21-7 overall, 9-5 in Big Ten play; Michigan is 17-11, 8-7. The Hawkeyes are 5-2 in conference road games.
Three minutes into the game, the Wolverines were on top by 13, but Iowa didn't panic.
"We were not taking care of the ball and they were scoring high-percentage shots," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. "We said, `Let's move on and start this over again. It's early.'"
UI senior Theairra Taylor scored the team's first five points and when Melissa Dixon sank a 3-point field goal nearly 7 ½ minutes later, the game was tied, 21-21. The first basket for the Hawkeyes was a 3 by Taylor: Iowa made 10-of-20 from long range in the game. Junior Samantha Logic was 3-of-4, Dixon was 3-of-6, Taylor was 2-of-4, and freshman Alexa Kastanek was 1-of-3.
"(Michigan) was playing zone and that allowed us to free up our 3-point shooters," Bluder said.
On two occasions Iowa built leads of 16 points: 47-31 after a 3-point field goal from Dixon, and 49-33 after a layup by Logic. The Wolverines battled back to tie the game, 58-58, with 8:58 remaining. Michigan extended the advantage to four points, and led 68-67 with 2:40 to go.
Two made free throws by Taylor put Iowa ahead with 1:51 left and the Hawkeyes would not trail again.
"It was experience down the line," Bluder said. "Sam (Logic) and Thee (Taylor) doing a great job. We hit free throws down the stretch, we defended in the last four minutes. I thought they did a great job out there in the last four minutes staying positive."
The Hawkeyes made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 1:51 and shot 77.8-percent from the line for the game (14-of-18).
Logic led all players with 19 points, and in the process, became the 31st player in UI history to score more than 1,000 points in a career. She was 7-of-10 from the field and handed out six assists.
All five Iowa starters scored in double figures. Aside from Logic, freshman Ally Disterhoft scored 14, Taylor had 13, junior Bethany Doolittle added 12, and Dixon scored 11. Iowa has had three or more players score in double figures in each of the last 26 contests.
"I love that," Bluder said.
The Hawkeyes made 58.3-percent of their field goals in the first half (14-of-24) and finished by shooting 52.1 percent. That is their best showing from the field since making 53.7-percent against Indiana on Jan. 25.
Disterhoft pulled down eight of Iowa's 20 rebounds, Taylor compiled five assists, and Doolittle blocked four shots.
Michigan also shot better than 50 percent from the field (50.8). The Wolverines were paced by Val Driscoll, who made 8-of-8 field goals and scored 18 points.
The Hawkeyes continue Big Ten action at home, hosting Ohio State on Thursday at 6 p.m. (CT) in their regular season home finale. Iowa will honor Taylor on Senior Night. The contest will be televised live by BTN.
"Theairra means so much to our program after five years and all that she has been through," Bluder said. "It is our last opportunity at home and it is such an important game."