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Iowa outscored Kent State 40-8 to close the first half of the blowout.

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IOWA CITY, Ia. — Six children played some musical chairs at halftime of Iowa’s 83-48 dismissal of Kent State on Tuesday. We're talking about huge, yellow and black inflatable chairs. And these youngsters were sprinting around the air-filled behemoths. So yeah, it was intense.

It came down to the two boys — one dressed in all blue, the other donning a Hawkeyes shirt with the name “Peel” on the back.

Surprise, surprise: The music stopped when the Iowa youth approached the one remaining chair. He plopped down and pumped both fists as he was crowned champ.

Oh, right. There was also a basketball game.

It wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the halftime show. Not for Kent State fans, at least.

After trudging through mud to begin the game, the Hawkeyes outscored Kent State 40-8 — yes, forty to eight — over the final 13 minutes and change of the first half and entered the break ahead 44-21. They outscored Kent State 39-27 in the second half to take an easy win into their brief winter break.

"Sometimes you start (poorly), and everything can go downhill from there," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "But at least we turned it around, and I'm proud of them for that."

Three Hawkeyes scored in double figures. Megan Gustafson and Ally Disterhoft led the way with 20 and 18, respectively, on a combined 16-for-23 clip from the field. Disterhoft’s 18 moved her past Jennie (Lillis) Baranczyk into fifth on Iowa’s all-time career scoring list.

Makenzie Meyer added a career-high 12 on 4-for-7 shooting from 3-point land. Kathleen Doyle finished with five points, five rebounds and a career-high six assists.

Meyer's strong outing is her second in as many games. She logged seven points, three assists, two steals, one block and zero turnovers in 28 minutes Sunday against Drake.

"I feel like my shot is starting to go in more, which is nice," Meyer chuckled. "My teammates have gotten me a lot of nice, wide-open looks. So it's my job to execute that."

Added Bluder: "I think she's a lot more comfortable than she was in the beginning. But that's, I think, pretty typical of a freshman, too. They need some of those minutes to let them feel comfortable."

Bluder changed her starting lineup for the first time since Nov. 24, when she replaced Meyer with Doyle against UCLA in Cancun. This time, she started Christina Buttenham in place of Bre Cera — to get some more offense in the starting five, Bluder said. It was Buttenham's first start as a Hawkeye.

Both played well in their new roles. Buttenham scored five and hauled in a career-high six rebounds. Cera finished with four points, five rebounds and three assists.

Carly Mohns checked in with a little more than three minutes left. It was her first game action since she tore the meniscus in her left knee during practice last December. She grabbed a rebound and scored a point from the free-throw line.

Bain covers Hawkeyes' basketball for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at mbain@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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