The Iowa women’s basketball team had an up and down performance against North Dakota on Saturday.
The Hawkeyes got down 13-4 early and then gave up a 14-0 run in the second half but a 22-2 run in the final stages of the first 20 minutes gave No. 21 Iowa some breathing room and the Hawkeyes eventually cruised to the 88-62 win over North Dakota in the final non-conference game of the season in front of 4,205 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Six Hawkeyes (12-2) scored in double-figures and a seventh grabbed 10 rebounds in the win. The Hawkeyes were 17-of-20 from the line, buried nine 3-pointers and had a 20-0 advantage in fast-break points.
“I thought our fast break got us going,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “The first 24 minutes of this game were really good. I thought we were on our way to a great game. I told the team we played a good game, but we were on our way to having a great game and didn't quite pull that off.”
Five Iowa players came into the game averaging in double-figures. Samantha Logic’s 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds led the way, while Theairra Taylor (14), Melissa Dixon (13), Bethany Doolittle (12), Ally Disterhoft (12) and Alexa Kastanek (11)) also reached double digits. Disterhoft and Kastanek accounted for all 23 of Iowa’s bench points, while Kali Peschel pulled down 10 rebounds and scored the only other points (5) not scored by the six in double figures. Taylor also grabbed six boards, while Doolittle blocked four shots in the win.
“I love our balance that we have on our team,” Bluder said. “Again, I think any person can hurt you on any night. I think it makes us really hard to guard.”
It was the 12th straight game that at least three players have reached double figures in scoring.
Iowa’s 12 victories prior to the start of conference play equal the most in a season under Bluder. Iowa finished 12-1 in its non-conference slate during the 2010-11 campaign.
North Dakota (6-4) led 13-4 after a little more than 4 minutes but an 11-0 run allowed Iowa to take its first lead at 25-24.
The Hawkeyes trailed 24-20 with 6:16 to play in the half but led 45-28 at halftime. Iowa ended the first half on a 25-4 run in the final 6:42, making five 3-point field goals.
Iowa’s lead was cut to as low as 12 in the second half thanks to a 14-0 spurt from UND, but an 8-0 run pushed the lead back to 20 and Iowa went on to win by 26.
“We kind of had a lull in there for a while where we got kind of stagnant and thought the game was over at that point,” Bluder said. “Obviously, we can't have those lulls against Big Ten competition.”
Madi Buck led UND with 19 points and seven boards, while Mia Loyd scored 13 and grabbed six rebounds. Emily Evers had 10 points and six rebounds off the bench, but UND turned it over 21 times and made just 12-of-22 from the foul line.
Three of North Dakota’s four losses have come to schools in Iowa. Northern Iowa and Iowa State beat UND in the opening week of the season. The fourth loss came by two points to Iowa’s Big Ten rival Minnesota earlier this month.
The Hawkeyes open Big Ten Conference play at Indiana (12-0) on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
“I feel good about our record going into Big Ten play,” Bluder said. “We know that we have a first pass against an unbeaten on the road and that's a big challenge, and we're going to start worrying about that in about 30 minutes.”
Dixon hit three triples against UND and now has 156 career 3-pointers, equaling Leah Magner for seventh (156) on Iowa’s all-time list. … Bluder needs seven wins to surpass Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer (269) as Iowa’s all-time winningest coach. … Iowa has won eight of its last nine games and the victory over UND pushes the home record to 8-0. … All but one of Indiana’s 12 wins have come against mid-major programs. The Hoosiers beat Virginia Tech by six and will play at Xavier on Sunday before hosting the Hawkeyes this coming Thursday.