IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa unofficially opened the season Sunday.
Sunday's exhibition with St. Ambrose may have been unofficial in terms of records, but the Hawkeyes' play officially looked ready for games that matter.
No. 19 Iowa shot 53 percent from the field and scored 64 first-half points in a 119-57 win over NAIA squad St. Ambrose in front of nearly 4,000 fans at Carver Hawkeye Arena.
Four Hawkeyes scored in double figures Sunday, led by Bethany Doolittle's game-high 21 points.
"We worked a lot on execution and working together as a team for the first time in an official game — well, not official, but an exhibition game," Doolittle said with a smile. "Just getting that work in today and getting the freshman used to playing with everybody else, it worked well today."
Exhibition or no exhibition, the Hawkeyes were impressive Sunday.
Iowa was midseason sharp, dishing out 28 assists while only committing nine turnovers.
The Hawkeyes shot 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line (13-26) and 83 percent from the foul line.
Senior Melissa Dixon hit five 3-pointers and had 19 points despite missing most of the preseason rehabbing an injury.
Sophomore Ally Disterhoft had 18 points, while freshman Chase Coley had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in her first collegiate action.
"We told them, 'Ignore the scoreboard,' and I thought we did a good job of keeping our focus and keeping our intensity the entire time," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "That's not always easy to do, but I thought we did get better at executing."
Iowa led 64-30 at the half, as 12 different players scored.
Freshman Whitney Jennings got the start in place of Dixon and had eight points and five assists. Freshman Carly Mohns added eight points and nine rebounds, while Christina Buttenham had five points and five rebounds in her debut.
"I thought our freshmen did really well for the first time out," Bluder said. "Two of them accounted for 21 of our rebounds and that's nice. That's nice."
Dixon, who just began practicing this week, was 5-of-11 from deep while playing 19 minutes.