Balanced attack easily propels Iowa past Northwestern, 78-59

Matthew Bain

IOWA CITY, Ia. — With a shortened bench, the Iowa Hawkeyes put together perhaps their best team game of the season and impressed in all phases during a 78-59 win over Northwestern on Thursday night.

"This was just a really good, controlled victory for us," head coach Lisa Bluder said. "I thought we had a lot of contributions from a lot of different sources tonight, that was great to see. Great balance. We won every quarter. I feel really good about the effort we got from our team today."

Megan Gustafson and Ally Disterhoft scored 17 and 14 points, respectively, and six other players netted at least five. The Hawkeyes held Northwestern to 31 percent shooting (23-for-74), outrebounded it, 51-37, and outscored it, 28-16, in the paint and 20-15 off the bench.

The Wildcats never led and never pulled within single digits during the final 13 minutes.

Iowa's Hannah Stewart takes a shot during the Hawkeyes' game against Northwestern at Carver-Hawkeyes Arena on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.

Bre Cera and Christina Buttenham got concussions during practice this week (on separate incidents), so Bluder was missing two players with starting experience.

The result? Chase Coley secured her first start of the season after earning the nod in all but two of Iowa's 33 games last year. And Amanda Ollinger, who played four minutes in January hadn't seen game action since Jan. 21, logged 11 meaningful minutes with five points and six boards.

Iowa's Amanda Ollinger takes a contested shot during the Hawkeyes' game against Northwestern at Carver-Hawkeyes Arena on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.

Northwestern's top scorer Nia Coffey wound up with 21 on 8 of 21 shooting.

Coley finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes. Makenzie Meyer added 10 points, Kathleen Doyle had eight points, seven assists and seven rebounds, and Alexa Kastanek had eight points, five rebounds and three assists.

Cera and Buttenham are day-to-day, Bluder said.

Up next: at Purdue this Sunday at 11 a.m. The Hawkeyes, 7-6 in the Big Ten, are tied for sixth with the Boilermakers.

"You want to hold that home-court advantage; we did tonight," Bluder said. "We go on the road now for two games in a row, so that was really important."

Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.