Iowa was a combination of knee braces and bad attitude in a 63-40 win over Northern Illinois Friday in its season-opener.
Iowa (1-0) advances to the quarterfinal round of the WNIT and faces Illinois State (1-0) at 2 p.m. Sunday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I was very happy with our defense,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “We made them take some shots they don’t want to take.”
It was the best defensive effort since Iowa held Iowa State to 40 points on Dec. 9, 2010.
The Hawkeyes used a stifling man-to-man defense to hold the Huskies to just 13 points in the first half. Northern Illinois shot 17.4 percent (4-of-23) and had 10 turnovers to one assist in the fist 20 minutes.
Iowa also forced the Huskies into three shot-clock violations in the first half.
“Those were a real energizer for our team,” sophomore guard Samantha Logic said. “You don’t need to get steals to get a stop. Just playing defense for 30 seconds is really energizing.”
Iowa senior Jaime Printy — playing in her first game as a Hawkeye in which she did not start — used a massive brace on her left leg and a sleeve on her right leg.
Printy is coming back from ACL surgery in February and a hamstring pull last week. She finished with 11 points and three assists.
“It was just a great feeling, I can’t even describe it,” Printy said. “It’s fun to play in front of all these fans. I just couldn’t stop smiling the whole time.”
It was Printy coming off the bench — for the first time in her life, Bluder joked — that got the Iowa offense going. Printy had a pull-up jumper and a 3-pointer to push Iowa to a 13-6 lead.
“Having Jaime out there really helps out,” Logic said. “It is really tough to defend. They don’t know which weapon we are going to use.”
Three-pointers from Theairra Taylor — also sporting a full-leg sleeve — and Melissa Dixon put Iowa up by double-digits 21-10. The Huskies never cut it back down to single-digits after that.
Iowa led 34-13 at half and spent the final 20 minutes rotating in the four freshmen and JUCO transfer Kathy Thomas.
The 5-foot-6 Thomas finished with eight points and three hard fouls.
“I like it,” Bluder said. “She has a little chip on her shoulder. I think that’s a great spark off of our bench.”
The four freshmen — Claire Till, Kali Peschel, Nicole Smith and Kayla Timmerman — were 1-for-13 from the floor.
Sophomore Bethany Doolittle struggled in her first start at power forward with two points and zero rebounds but did have a career-best six blocked shots.
Senior center Morgan Johnson had 11 points and five rebounds.
“It’s nice to know we have different weapons we can go to,” Bluder said. “It’s nice we can win this decisively without them playing their best game.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball