Hawkeye women score record 107 points in opening win

Chad Leistikow

IOWA CITY, Ia. – If there was an appropriate way to start this highly anticipated Iowa women's basketball season, Friday night was it.

USC Upstate, the Spartanburg, S.C.-based school that ran into a black-and-gold buzzsaw at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, won't be on the NCAA Selection Committee's short list this spring. But regardless of the competition, the Hawkeyes looked the part of the nation's 19th-ranked team with a 107-56 pasting of the Spartans.

Iowa set a school record last season with 78.2 points per game. Lisa Bluder's bunch had that standard topped with 12 minutes, 37 seconds left in the second half.

When 40 minutes were complete, Iowa had a new single-game scoring record. The previous high was 106 points, set in 1978 against Northern Iowa and tied in 1990 against North Carolina.

True to the Hawkeyes' unselfish, running style, they were coming off a 119-point outing against St. Ambrose an exhibition game (which, of course, doesn't count in the record books).

"It was kind of fun," Bluder said of the school record. "It's been a long time coming. But hey, we went down since the St. Ambrose game."

The Hawkeyes finished with 27 assists. USC Upstate had 20 baskets.

Ally Disterhoft, the sophomore from Iowa City West, led the Iowa onslaught with a smooth 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting and five assists in 18 minutes. Senior guard Melissa Dixon was equally sharp, canning 4-of-5 3-pointers in a 16-point night — she's now seven shy of 1,000 — in 22 minutes. Bethany Doolittle added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

"It's easy to get open looks and easy shots when you have teammates looking to make the easy pass," Disterhoft said. "When you're shooting layups most of the time, that's pretty fun."

Hawkeye point guard Samantha Logic had 11 points, seven assists and three steals in what is expected to be a big senior year for her and the Hawkeyes.

Before the game, the team was honored with a banner honoring last year's seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Every expectation is that Iowa could be well on its way to eight in a row.

Though the measuring sticks will only get tougher as the season goes on — Robert Morris, an NCAA Tournament team last year, visits Iowa City on Sunday — Game 1 was visual validation that this is a good Hawkeye team.

About the only player that didn't completely click for Iowa on this night was Whitney Jennings, the most-heralded freshman of Bluder's 2014 class.

Jennings got the starting nod in her Hawkeye debut but struggled early on. She finished with seven points on 1-of-7 shooting with three turnovers in a team-high 28 minutes, but did display dazzling ball-handling skills.

"I thought all of her looks were good. A little short on a couple of them," Bluder said. "But she'll be there. I'm not concerned about that."

CoCo Ritter led USC Upstate, which visits Iowa State on Sunday, with 11 points.