Iowa’s balance, its ability to finally out-rebound an opponent and the fact that the Hawkeyes shot 52 percent from the floor all factored into the program’s first Big Ten Conference road win of the year on Sunday.
Bethany Doolittle and Ally Disterhoft both scored 20 points and grabbed five boards, while Sam Logic added 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a return to her home state as the Iowa women’s basketball team downed Wisconsin, 82-65, at the Kohl Center.
“We shot the ball well today. We shared the ball well too,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “We withstood their runs, that was good to see.”
Theairra Taylor added 13 points, seven rebounds and four steals in the win. The Hawkeyes out-rebounded the Badgers 39-28, outscored the home team 34-26 in the paint and had 11 steals.
“That balance is something we rely on and we enjoy,” Bluder said. “We enjoy and celebrate the assists. This is the first time we out-rebounded a Big Ten opponent. We tried to challenge the team in that department.”
Doolittle’s jumper in the opening minute gave Iowa a lead it would not relinquish.
Disterhoft led an early run by the Hawkeyes that turned an 11-6 lead into a 21-8 advantage. Disterhoft followed a three-point play up with a 3-pointer and then a triple from Taylor gave Iowa its biggest lead of the first half at 16 with 6:18 to go before halftime.
Wisconsin ended the first half on a run and trailed by just three at the break. The Badgers – led by Iowa native Morgan Paige – used an 18-5 run to make it interesting again. Paige scored seven straight during that stretch as the Badgers used a full-court press to get back into the game.
“We rushed and turned it over too much,” Bluder said. “We were more expecting it in the second half. The surprise element got us. We just weren’t ready for it. We were on our game a little better in the second half.”
The Badgers (8-7, 1-2) got within one early in the second half, but Iowa pushed it back to double-figures after Logic made a layup. That made it 61-51 and then a 9-0 run highlighted by a pair of jumpers from Doolittle gave the Hawkeyes a 70-53 lead.
Iowa (14-4, 2-2) made all six of its free throws in the closing minutes to seal its 14th win of the season.
Paige, who fouled out, finished with a game-high 20 points but 13 of those came in the first half. She also took all six of her free throw attempts in the first half. The Badgers shot just two free throws in the final 20 minutes after going 8-of-10 in the first half.
Michala Johnson added 16 points and six rebounds. Wisconsin was 7-of-20 from long range.
Logic (Racine, Wis.) and Melissa Dixon (Johnsburg, Ill.) both played about 100 miles from their home towns. That allowed several Hawkeye fans to make the trip and help take up some of the space in the Kohl Center.
“This was a great crowd for us. We draw well here,” Bluder said. “It helps that we have players from the area.”
The Hawkeyes will next play at 7 p.m. Thursday against Michigan State inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It will be the only meeting between these two teams this season.
“Michigan State is off to a great start,” Bluder said. “We have played them well at home. We have to make good use of all of our home games. This is our only game against them so we need to make it count.”