IOWA CITY, Ia. — On paper, Wednesday night’s Iowa-Iowa State matchup was a basketball purist’s dream; a run-and-gun offense vs. a stingy defense.
The Cyclones boasted the country’s third-best 3-point attack, draining 43.2 percent of their long balls. And Iowa entered the game with a top-40 3-point defense and a top-30 overall defense.
Well, as is true quite often in sports, defense won. Actually, defense dominated for the most part Wednesday night. The Hawkeyes held Iowa State to 21 percent from long range and 38 overall as they won 88-76 in this year’s edition of the Cy-Hawk series.
"It’s just awesome to go out as a senior with a ‘W’ against the biggest in-state rival that there is," said Ally Disterhoft, who scored 14. "Everyone wants to say ‘It’s a Cyclone state’ or ‘It’s a Hawkeye state.’ But to be able to say ‘It’s a Hawkeye state’ after we beat them on our home floor — definitively — is awesome."
Iowa State had shot 67 percent (22-for-33) from beyond the arc in its past two games: a 100-63 win against New Orleans and an 85-81 overtime loss to No. 5 Mississippi State.
It missed its first nine 3-pointers and 15 of its first 16 against Iowa.
"Our locker room is a pretty happy locker room right now, and it should have been," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "I think our team really prepared well for this game, mentally and physically. ... I thought we were the better team."
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes continued their hot long-range shooting. Three days after making 11 of 16 3s against Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes drained 13 of 21 against the Cyclones. They shot 29-for-51 overall (57 percent), including a perfect 8-for-8 third quarter. Tania Davis and Disterhoft combined to make eight 3s on 11 attempts.
"You know, we started out the season not shooting the ball well and it was kind of just a mystery, honestly," Bluder said. "We track our every shot in practice. We know how well that we shoot the ball, so it was just a matter of time. Luckily, you know, sometimes it just takes confidence, too. Some start falling and then it's kind of like an avalanche. So I'm just glad they kept the faith."
Iowa State put together a brief 11-4 scoring run after trailing 60-40 early in the third. The run featured a Cyclone halfcourt zone defense, five free throws and a pair of 3s from Jadda Buckley and Seanna Johnson. Then, with 35 ticks left in the quarter, Davis hurled a cross-court pass to Kathleen Doyle for Iowa's 12th made long ball of the night for a 67-51 lead.
The Cyclones outscored Iowa 25-21 in the final frame to make this game appear closer than it was for most of the night.
Davis led all scorers with 23 points, a career high. She also notched career-bests with seven field goals and five 3-pointers made.
"During shoot around today, Ally told me, ‘If they’re not gonna play you, make them pay. Go off for 30,'" Davis said. "And I literally took that to heart."
Doyle had easily her best game as a Hawkeye in arguably her biggest game as a Hawkeye. She finished with a career-high 17 points, five assists and one late turnover on an attempted no-look pass to Disterhoft in garbage time.
"It was the middle of the game and I was like, ‘Wow, this is really fun,'" Doyle said. "I mean the crowd is so into it and you can just tell the atmosphere is just super intense. It’s fun to be in the Hawkeye state now.”
Megan Gustafson chipped in 10 and grabbed 13 boards to record her sixth double-double this season.
Buckley finished with 21 on 9-of-19 shooting for Iowa State. Johnson and Bridget Carleton had 18 apiece.
Bain covers Hawkeyes basketball for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.