Offensive efficiency leads No. 20 Hawkeyes past Michigan
Iowa demonstrated last Sunday it could win with defense, rebounding, toughness and tenacity.
On Thursday, the Hawkeye women won the old-fashioned Iowa way — with offense.
No. 20 Iowa shot 57 percent from the field and handed out 25 assists in an efficient 76-70 win over Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
After matching a season low with 52 points in Sunday's win at Michigan State, it was a vintage offensive performance Thursday.
Melissa Dixon led five players in double figures with 16 points as Iowa (15-3, 6-1) hit its first six shots and never trailed while winning its fourth straight game.
"We just got back to Iowa basketball," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder Bluder said. "We were so low in assists at Michigan State, and that's not us. We are a team that distributes. We are unselfish, and we got that done again today and shot the ball extremely well."
Ally Disterhoft added 14 points and senior point guard Samantha Logic had the 26th double-double of her career with 13 points and 11 assists. Iowa took over sole possession of second place in the Big Ten standings.
Led by Logic's helpers, the Hawkeyes notched their highest assist total during Big Ten play and the most since handing out 26 in a November win over Pepperdine.
"We are always going to look for the extra pass," Logic said. "There was a time when Ally had a wide open 3 and just dished it off to Whitney (Jennings) because she had already hit one, and she nailed it."
Thursday was Iowa offense at its finest from the outset.
Jennings hit two 3-pointers in the first six minutes as Iowa jumped to a 14-4 lead.
It took more than 10 minutes for Iowa to miss two shots, as the Hawkeyes connected on 10 of their first 11 field-goal attempts.
"I think anytime you see the ball go through the net a couple of times, it gives you a little more confidence for the rest of the game," Jennings said. "It was nice to see the ball go through the hoop and play with that confidence the rest of the game."
Michigan never fully recovered from the Hawkeyes' 14-4 burst to open the game, though senior center Cyesha Goree did her best to keep the Wolverines in it.
Goree finished with game-highs of 26 points and 13 rebounds, but Michigan (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten), which came into the game fifth as the fifth-best 3-point shooting team in the country, went just 5-of-21 from beyond the arc.
"I thought we identified their shooters very well," Bluder said. "We gave up to some 2s to Goree because we were spreading our zone, but we knew that they were good 3-point shooters, so that is what we wanted to do."
Iowa needed just a shade over three minutes to turn a 36-32 halftime lead back into a double-digit margin.
Iowa rattled off a 10-2 run to start the second half, a burst that finished with three straight transition layups.
The second of two Disterhoft fast-break baskets put Iowa in front 46-34 with 16:54 left.
"In the first half, they got some offensive rebounds. In the second half, we got rebounds and got the ball to me and Whitney in transition," Logic said. "I think one time it went to four of us and didn't touch the floor, and that is hard to guard."
Michigan trimmed the lead to four with 9 seconds left, but a pair of free throws by Doolittle two seconds later sealed the ninth win in the past 10 games for the Hawkeyes.
Doolittle finished with 13 points and Jennings, a freshman guard, added 12.
"We won as a team and we won playing Iowa basketball again," Bluder said. "Twenty-five assists tonight, great numbers there. I thought we passed the ball really well and looked for the open shot."
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.