Iowa women get breakthrough win against Nebraska
It took five extra minutes but Iowa finally found the answer to its Big Red riddle.
No. 20 Iowa broke a 65-all tie with an 8-2 run in overtime and snapped an eight-game losing streak to Nebraska with a 78-72 win over the 15th-ranked Cornhuskers Monday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Ally Disterhoft scored all 20 of her points after halftime and Samantha Logic had five of her game-high 22 points in overtime as Iowa (16-3, 7-1 Big Ten) secured its first win over Nebraska since it joined the Big Ten.
"It feels good," Logic said. "Right now in the Big Ten you just try to keep it in perspective, but obviously as a competitor you don't want to keep losing to a team, so for us seniors it's pretty big and pretty special."
Iowa overcame some early offensive struggles and foul trouble and a 10-point second-half deficit to run its winning streak to five in a row.
Nebraska (15-4, 5-3) had a five-game winning streak snapped with the loss and fell two full games behind the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten standings.
Iowa shot just 26 percent in the first half, matching a season low for points in a half with 21.
Disterhoft and senior center Bethany Doolittle were both held scoreless in the first half as Nebraska built a 28-21 halftime lead.
The Cornhuskers led by as many as 10 in the second half and led by eight with 9:19 left before Iowa rallied.
Iowa took its first lead of the game on an 18-foot jumper by Logic with 3:50 left.
"We just got stops and rebounds and then we got to push," Logic said of the late rally. "We got out in transition and that's why I think shots were falling, because when we get out in transition we get better shots."
It looked like Nebraska would escape Iowa City with its ninth consecutive win over the Hawkeyes when junior point guard Rachel Theriot lofted in a floater in the lane with 4.5 seconds left for a 61-60 lead.
Iowa took a timeout and called a play for freshman Whitney Jennings.
The 5-foot-5 guard took an inbounds pass from Logic and raced to the frontcourt, where she was fouled on her layup attempt by a contesting Theriot.
"We practice last-second situations often and they know what to do," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "We called the play and they ran it to the tee."
Jennings missed her first free throw but hit her second to force overtime.
It was all Iowa from that point on.
Bethany Doolittle snapped a 65-all tie with four points in a row coming on a pair of free throws and a putback.
After an Emily Cady layup cut the lead to two, Logic hit a driving layup. Disterhoft hit two free throws to make it 73-67.
"When we went into overtime there was no doubt in our players' minds that we were going to win," Bluder said. "There was absolutely no doubt, everybody was super excited going to that overtime, which was fun."
Disterhoft was 0-for-5 in her scoreless first half but rebounded with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the second half and overtime.
The sophomore finished with a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double, hitting 7-of-10 shots in the final 25 minutes.
"At no point in time did my teammates or my coaches ever doubt that my next shot wasn't going to go in," Disterhoft said. "When you have girls like that that are so unselfish, believe in you so much, it's easy to go and out play."
Logic finished with eight assists and seven rebounds to go with her 22 points while Doolittle added 12 points, all of which came in the second half.
"It was just such a team effort," Logic said. "We are happy with the win and we want to keep it rolling."
Cady led Nebraska with 19 points and 18 rebounds while Tear'a Laudermill added 19 points for the Cornhuskers.
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him at @rmmurken.