Dixon Leads Second-Half Comeback for Hawkeye Women
By Jeff Linder and Scott Westerberg, Reporters
IOWA CITY, Iowa Melissa Dixon got more than a little sun in Cancun.
She got her stroke back.
Remember that little shooting slump? Forget it. Dixon splashed seven 3-pointers for the second straight game and scored all of her game-high 27 points in a second-half barrage as 25th-ranked Iowa rallied past No. 22 Syracuse, 97-91, in a wildly entertaining women's basketball game as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in front of 3,323 Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"We did a really good job handling their zone in the second half," Dixon said. "I was open a lot."
Iowa (9-1) scored 60 second-half points to win a shootout. Bethany Doolittle tallied a career-high 25 points.
"Obviously, a big win for us," Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. "When we got down, we didn't rush things."
The Hawkeyes fell behind during the absence of point guard Samantha Logic, who caught an inadvertent elbow above the right eyebrow with 13:55 left in the first half.
Logic left some blood on the floor, then departed to the locker room for stitches she had eight of them.
"The doctor numbed it up, then got going on it," Logic said. "I was listening for the crowd noise. I could hear cheering from time to time, so I didn't think it was going too bad."
Said Bluder: "Sam's our leader, the heart of our basketball team. She was going to be really pissed if we lost this game."
By the time Logic was patched up, reappeared from the tunnel and reached the scorer's bench to return to action, Syracuse (8-1) led, 32-23. It was 47-37 at halftime.
Then, well, Dixon went bonkers in the second half.
She hit her first 3-pointer with 35 seconds elapsed after intermission. Then came an uncommon six-point possession Dixon hit a trey while a foul was called away from the ball, then hit another after Iowa regained possession to bring the Hawkeyes within 58-52.
Syracuse responded with six straight points to push the margin back to 12. Dixon hit again to make it 68-59, then again to bring the Hawkeyes within 71-69.
Her sixth trey of the half gave the Hawkeyes a 75-74 lead; her seventh pretty much clinched the victory at 93-87 with 41 seconds left.
In the Hawkeyes' first six games, Dixon was 7 for 46 (15.2 percent) from 3-point range. The last four games three in Cancun, plus Thursday's win: 22 of 44 (50 percent).
"I started (the season) off with a little cold spell," Dixon said. "The team just told me to keep my confidence and keep shooting.
"Nobody cares who scores. We just want to win."
Five times, a Hawkeye has hit seven treys in a game. That includes twice by Dixon in six days.
Doolittle kept Iowa in the game early with 17 first-half points. She finished 12 of 16 from the floor and eclipsed her previous career best of 22 points, set in November against Dayton.
Logic posted 14 points and seven assists to go with her eight stitches. Kali Peschel added 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Theairra Taylor totaled nine points and eight assists.
That's a lot of assists 28 were recorded in Iowa's 33 field goals.
Brittney Sykes led Syracuse with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Rachel Coffey added 14 points, Brianna Butler 12, Briana Day 10.
The Hawkeyes host Idaho State at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Bengals (2-5) lost at Drake on Thursday.
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