Iowa women suffer narrow defeat at top-five Maryland

Ian Quillen
Special to the Register

Maryland Terrapins guard Kiara Leslie (2) and Iowa Hawkeyes forward Kali Peschel (25) watch the ball during the first half at Xfinity Center. Fifth-ranked Maryland beat No. 20 Iowa 93-88.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Iowa's bombs-away, perimeter-oriented offense played preseason conference favorite Maryland even for more than 32 minutes of Sunday afternoon's contest.

So when the No. 20 Hawkeyes women's basketball team finally succumbed to a 93-88 defeat to the No. 5 Terrapins, there were no moral victory declarations.

"We're not going to make any of those as excuses why we lost," said senior guard Samantha Logic, who had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds. "We didn't do what we needed to do to finish on top."

Maryland (19-2, 10-0 Big Ten) seized control of the Big Ten regular-season title chase, with Iowa (17-4, 8-2) now needing a three-game swing to overtake the leaders after the teams' only head-to-head meeting.

But despite snapping a six-game win streak, this may well have been among the Hawkeyes' best performances this year, considering it was their third game in six days and immediately followed Thursday's stunning offensive performance where they hit a program-record 19 3-pointers in a 102-99 victory at Northwestern.

"I have the utmost respect for (Iowa coach) Lisa Bluder and her staff," said Maryland coach Brenda Frese, a Cedar Rapids native and childhood Hawkeyes fan. "This is one of her best teams I've seen in a long time. They're just so good. They're so talented."

Ally Disterhoft scored 22 points to lead four in double figures for the Hawkeyes, who scored the most points against Maryland since the Terrapins lost on Dec. 3 to then-No. 2 Notre Dame.

Melissa Dixon had 18 points and Bethany Doolittle added 16 on the interior for Iowa, which was ultimately doomed by Maryland's interior play after halftime.

The Hawkeyes also fell cold from long-range, hitting just two 3-pointers in the second half after going 6-for-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.

Lexie Brown scored six of her season-high 26 points for the Terrapins inside the final minute and made a crucial steal of Logic's transition pass to seal the game after her scoop layup had put Maryland up 88-84.

Brionna Jones added 19 points and 15 rebounds, scoring 17 of those points after halftime, as Maryland outrebounded Iowa 20-11 after the break, and 41-29 overall.

Still, Iowa was as close as 86-84 after Disterhoft hit a pair of free throws with 1:03 to play.

Brown answered with a tough running layup. Then, as Logic tried to marshal her team down the court quickly, Brown filled the passing lane, made the interception and hit a pair of free throws to make it 90-84 with 30 seconds left.

"I thought our team maintained our composure throughout this game and it's a one-possession game with a minute left," said Bluder, who watched Maryland go 28-of-35 from the free-throw line. "It's just too many free throws for Maryland and too many offensive rebounds for Maryland."