Dec. 16, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Final exams might be over for University of Iowa student-athletes, but the Hawkeye women's basketball team passed another big test Sunday with an 82-65 victory against Drake.
Earlier in the week, UI head coach Lisa Bluder warned of how difficult it is to play in the Knapp Center. She lamented that the Hawkeyes have struggled in their two previous road games. On Sunday Iowa went on the road, in an unfriendly setting, and came away with victory -- and a second mythical state championship in three seasons.
The Hawkeyes set season-highs in field goal percentage (52.5) and assists (23), and a season-low in turnovers (eight) and improved to 8-3 overall. Drake, which is coached by former Hawkeye Jennie (Lillis) Baranczyk, falls to 3-6. Iowa has won 11 in a row in the series.
UI senior center Morgan Johnson led all players with 26 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Samantha Logic added 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds; Trisha Nesbitt came off the bench to contribute 12 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. The Hawkeyes received 20 assists from three players: Logic, Jaime Printy (seven) and Theairra Taylor (six).
"It makes me feel good that our players recognize when we have a strength to go to it," Bluder said of utilizing a height advantage. "You might as well go to the same old well if it's giving you water."
Johnson used her height edge to make 11-of-19 field goals.
The Hawkeyes made 31-of-59 field goals, with assists on more nearly 3/4ths of their makes.
"That's a lot of assists," Bluder said. "We're known for sharing the ball, distributing the ball for a high-percentage shot, and we have our best field goal percentage because we got those high-percentage shots."
Iowa had advantages of 40-18 in points in the paint, and 15-5 in points off turnovers.
The first half featured a series of runs -- two by the Hawkeyes and one by Drake. Iowa led 9-4 after four minutes, but then the Bulldogs went on a 22-8 run and led, 26-17 with 9:25 left in the first half. Over the next six minutes, the Hawkeyes outscored Drake, 12-2, and took a 39-34 lead into the locker room.
"We took Drake's best shot," Bluder said. "We went on the road and got our first true road victory and we wrapped up the state championship. That was a goal for us -- we wanted to be the best team in the state and we did that on the road."
Drake was led in scoring by Kyndal Clark, who made 6-of-7 3-pointers for 19 points, and Morgan Reid, who made 10-of-12 free throws for 16.
Iowa returns to Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena Wednesday, Dec. 19, against Missouri State with a 5:30 p.m. (CT) tip. The Bears (6-3) have won five of their last six games, including an 83-60 decision against Arkansas State on Dec. 15.
"Hopefully we'll have a great crowd out there at 5:30," Bluder said. "Get off work a little early and come out and help these women go 9-3 on this nonconference season."
Missouri State leads the all-time series, 4-3; the Hawkeyes won the last meeting, 79-70, on Nov. 11, 2006, in the first round of the WBCA Classic in Kansas City.