IOWA CITY, Iowa – Lisa Bluder ended her postgame press conference with a thank you. She wanted to let the 4,588 fans in attendance Wednesday night, how much she appreciated seeing their black and gold parafenial in the stands as Iowa welcomed Missouri State.
The forecast called for potential blizzard-like conditions. By the time the game ended, it verged on eclipsing the 8 p.m. deadline, which the Iowa Department of Transportation advised citizens to avoid the roads. Yet fans filled Carver-Hawkeye arena with the third highest showing of the women's basketball season – behind only the season opener and the in-state battle versus Northern Iowa.
Those who made the trek witnessed quite a performance.
Iowa steamrolled Missouri State 97-43. In the prolific performance the Hawkeyes achieved a handful of factoids that will litter the team's upcoming game notes and media guide. Five players combined to establish 23 high water marks in 12 different categories.
"I'm not sure. It's always hard to remember those past games. You always remember the one that just happened," the Iowa head coach said. "Certainly this is a game where I can look at the stat sheet and find things (we can do better at)."
It didn't take long for the personal best to start falling.
Bethany Doolittle jogged into the locker room at half time with her first career double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down 10 boards. The double-digit rebounds set a new career-high. She finished with 12 and 12.
"I had no idea, going into halftime I had a double-double," Doolittle said. "I still didn't know. I just found out. It's to know."
Kathy Thomas took over the record book in the second half. The sophomore scored 12 points in the final 20 minutes, which would have been a career high. Added with the three from the first half, she finished with 15 total. She also set new personal bests in field goals made and attempted and three points field goals made and attempted.
Entering Wednesdays' game the most 3s she's heaved was one, twice. Against the Bears she attempted six beyond the arc, making three.
"I've always had confidence in her and our team has too," senior guard Jaime Printy said. "Like tonight when she airballed one and shot it from the same spot, I came up to her and said, 'That a girl. Way to have that confidence.' So I think it will even get better over time. I'm really proud of her. She played awesome tonight."
Thomas even picked up a postgame assist, finishing Printy's praise with a "Thanks."
The guard from Flint, Michigan also set career highs in steals with two. Theairra Taylor, Kayla Timmermann and Nicole Smith also accepted career achievement awards.
Taylor recorded seven assists, a new personal best. Smith's only bucket was the first as a Hawkeye. Timmermann set new high water marks in points (6) and rebounds (8). She joined Kali Peschel who attempted and made the most free throws in her career. Peschel pulled down five rebounds, tying a career high.
"It felt good. I was happy for everyone," Thomas said. "Everybody contributed and it just felt good."
The team assembled 97 points the most since Feb. 1, 2009 vs. Penn State in 97-89 win in triple overtime. It was the most points in regulation since Jan. 2, 1993 when the Hawkeyes beat Bucknell 97-39. That was a 58-point win, the second largest margin of victory in program history.
Wednesday's 54-point win is the most since Iowa beat Boise State on Dec. 6, 1993, 88-34. The largest win came against Cornell in January of 1975, a 91-23 win in the inaugural season of women's basketball at Iowa.
"It brings up the energy. Everyone is rooting for each other because we all love each other," Printy said. "The bench is more fun that way. When we're clicking, it's just so much fun to be out there."
Eleven players scored for Iowa, including five in double figures. With 4:04 remaining in the game, Melissa Dixon sank two free throws to give Iowa 92 points on the night.
Triple figures seemed eminent, which would have been the first time since 1988. But Iowa fell three short.
The Hawkeyes gained possession with 11 second remaining, but Thomas, who had a career-night from deep, held the ball in the back court, content to let that mark stand in the books for a while longer.