IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Lisa Bluder's first postgame comment summed it up:
"I feel like we just kind of let that one slip through our hands," she said. "We gave it away."
Karly Roser drove for the winning basket just before the horn sounded, and Northwestern earned its first win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 18 years, rallying past No. 24 Iowa, 67-65, in front of 4,697 stunned fans Sunday afternoon.
The Hawkeyes (16-7 overall, 5-4 Big Ten) wasted a 15-point lead, as well as a record performance by Melissa Dixon, who hit a long baseline shot -- just inside the 3-point arc -- to tie the game at 65-all with 6 seconds left.
But the Wildcats (11-11, 3-6) hurried the ball upcourt, and Roser split the middle of the defense for the winning basket.
The officials checked the monitor to be sure, but it was clear that the basket would count. It was a fitting end to a second half in which the Hawkeyes played little to no defense.
"You have to play 40 minutes," Iowa's Jaime Printy said. "We had a huge let-up, and you can't do that."
Iowa moved into the Associated Press rankings this week, but surely will fall out after losing back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Illinois defeated the Hawkeyes at Champaign on Thursday. This was far more damaging. Iowa gave up 49 points after intermission.
"Our help-side defense was non-existent today," Bluder said.
Take Dixon out of the picture, and the offense was no better. Dixon tied a Carver record, and matched her career-best, with six 3-pointers (in nine attempts). She scored a game-high 21 points.
"I thought my teammates did a great job driving and dishing to me," Dixon said.
The rest of the team, though, was 13 of 51 from the field.
Iowa seemed to be sailing along, enjoying a 42-27 lead with just over 15 minutes to go before Northwestern started to slice at the deficit.
A technical foul on Samantha Logic helped. So did Morgan Johnson's disqualification due to fouls with 8:47 to go.
The Wildcats took their first lead of the second half, 63-62, on Dannielle Diamant's basket with 1:44 to go. Rosen's drive made it 65-62 with 55 seconds left.
Dixon made one of two free throws at the 0:42 mark, then after an alternate-possession gave the ball back to Iowa, Dixon swished a 17-footer on the baseline to tie it.
But the relief was short-lived; Rosen took a pass at the wing and slashed through a shockingly large gap in the Iowa defense.
"It was a great college basketball game. We we fortunate to make one more play at the end," NU Coach Joe McKeown said. "It's been a while since we've won over here."
A long while. But not any more.
Kendall Hackney led the Wildcats with 18 points. Diamant added 15, Maggie Lyon 12 and Roser 11.
Printy (12 points), Logic (11) and Johnson (11) joined Dixon in double figures for the Hawkeyes. Logic grabbed 12 rebounds.
The Hawkeyes are at Minnesota on Thursday.