March 25, 2014
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- One of the best seasons in University of Iowa women's basketball history ended against one of the best teams in the NCAA Tournament Tuesday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The No. 19 Hawkeyes bowed out of their seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament, 83-53, to No. 4 Louisville, a team that somehow slipped to a No. 3 seed in the Louisville Region. It was Iowa's first loss at home to a nonconference opponent this season.
The Hawkeyes (27-9 overall) picked a poor time to shoot a season-low from long range, making 1-of-16 3-point field goal attempts. Ironically, junior Melissa Dixon sank the final 3-point attempt of the game for Iowa with 2:17 remaining.
Louisville (32-4), which led by as many as 38 points, advances to play Louisiana State University (21-12) on Sunday in Louisville, Ky. Five Cardinals scored in double figures, led by senior guard Shoni Schimmel with 26 points, seven assists, and five steals in 34 minutes.
"I congratulate Louisville," UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. "They came out and played very well, especially defensively. They made us struggle offensively. They only scored four points over their average, but it was their defense that took us out of our game."
Iowa shot 33.3-percent from the field (19-of-57), compared to 53.1-percent by Louisville (26-of-49). The Cardinals held a 24-2 advantage in bench points.
Freshman Ally Disterhoft paced Iowa with 15 points and eight rebounds, with 10 points coming in the first half. She scored eight straight Hawkeye points from the end of the first half to the beginning of the second. Junior Samantha Logic added 12 points, five steals and five rebounds; lone senior Theairra Taylor scored 10 points with four boards.
Taylor persevered through three knee surgeries to complete a remarkable career that spanned 111 games. She accumulated 916 points, 461 rebounds, and 238 assists, but her impact to the program transcended any box score.
"The team loves her," an emotional Bluder said. "We wanted this for her really badly."
For Taylor, her career will not be remembered by the final game.
"I played with a great group of girls, great coaching staff," Taylor said. "We didn't go out the way we wanted to. But coach said we can't remember the season off of just this game. This is one of my favorite seasons being here as a Hawkeye. It's something I want to remember as a wonderful journey."
Iowa tied the game at 11 when Taylor made two free throws with 15:39 left in the first half. Louisville answered with a 12-4 run that ended when Disterhoft converted a conventional 3-point play 7:14 later, cutting the Cardinals' lead to 23-15.
Three times in the first half Louisville just beat the shot clock to convert baskets. The Cardinals made 64 percent of their shots in the first half (16-of-25), while Iowa converted at a 31-percent clip (9-of-29).
"We definitely did not come into this game and expect this score to be what it was," Louisville head coach Jeff Walz said. "(Iowa is) a very, very good offensive team. We knew we were going to have to play extremely well at the defensive end. That's something that we did tonight."
For the game, the Hawkeyes forced 19 turnovers, turning those into 11 points.
IOWA GAME NOTES
The Hawkeyes' 27 victories this season equals the second-highest total in program history.
Iowa's 14 home wins equals the second-highest single-season total in school history.
Seven of Iowa's nine losses this season have come against ranked opponents.
Iowa has lost to the reigning NCAA runner-up in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. The Hawkeyes fell to Notre Dame in 2013.
Iowa was one of 14 teams nationally -- and the only Big Ten team -- to make its seventh-straight NCAA Tournament appearance this season.
Disterhoft has scored in double figures in 16 of her first 17 career starts. Iowa finished the year 13-4 when she starts. She finishes her freshman campaign with 474 points, the second most as a freshman in program history (Jaime Printy, 501, 2009-10).