Junior center Morgan Johnson was bouncing down the floor waving her arms, trying her best to entice the crowd to get rowdy.
And why not? Iowa had just put together an 11-2 run that helped spark a 74-57 victory over Michigan State on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I was just really proud of my teammates,” Johnson said. “How we were scoring and how we were moving the ball and defending. And I just wasn’t ready for that run to end.
“I just really wanted the fans to help us continue it.”
Iowa (16-10, 8-5) won its fifth straight game — and third straight since leading scorer Jaime Printy tore her ACL — to move into sole possession of fifth place in the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes also earned a key tiebreaker over Michigan State (15-10, 7-5).
“This is a really good win for our program,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I like the momentum we have, the way we’re playing.”
Tied 30-30 at the half, Bluder put the focus on rebounding and defense. The Spartans had 26 rebounds to 16 for Iowa at half, and had hurt Iowa with five 3-pointers.
“Sometimes when we take the focus off the offensive end, it works out better for us,” Bluder said.
Senior Kamille Wahlin started the big run with a jumper. Then freshman Samantha Logic had a one-person secondary break to put Iowa on top 34-33. The Hawkeyes didn’t trail again.
“I knew (Kiana) Johnson was behind me,” Logic said. “I knew to slow down a little bit to ward her off. Defenders flew to Kamille (Wahlin) and Kelly (Krei), our shooters. That’s why some things open up for you when your teammates are knocking down shots.”
Krei hit a 3-pointer the next trip down the court to put Iowa up 37-33 and force a timeout by Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant.
Logic had another driving basket and Wahlin executed a give-and-go with Theairra Taylor to make it 41-35.
That’s when Johnson, who separated her shoulder in the first half and had to have it popped back in, tried to get the crowd into the game.
The junior had a team-high 18 points to go with seven rebounds.
“I think we’ve established with Jaime being gone on where we’re getting our points from,” Johnson said. “I have more of a determination to be a threat offensively, because that’s what our team needs.”
Michigan State cut the lead down to one, 43-42, before Iowa put the game away with an 18-4 run that featured 3-pointers from Melissa Dixon and Logic, and six free throws.
Iowa shot 18-of-20 at the line for the game even without Printy, an 88.8 percent shooter at the foul line.
“I think everyone, like coach said, has stepped up their game,” Wahlin said. “I feel that the people coming off the bench are also stepping up their game.
“That kind of effort from everyone across the board is getting us better.”
Taylor and freshman post Bethany Doolittle each had 10 points off the bench. Wahlin had 11 points and Logic had 17 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
Logic tied the freshman mark for assists with 99, set by Printy.
“I’d look at how Logic has elevated her game to another level,” Merchant said. “That’s something they needed. If someone goes down, you need aggression from somebody.”
Porsche Poole led Michigan State with 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Annalise Pickrel added 12 points off the bench.
Iowa heads back on the road this week for a Thursday showdown at Michigan (18-7, 7-5) another team battling with the Hawkeyes in the middle of the Big Ten pack.
“I feel like we’re in this position a lot. I think that we’re used to it,” Bluder said. “We’re battling to get to that Big Ten Tournament better seed. We’re battling to get into the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s a situation we’re very familiar with and I think our team has responded very well to it.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball