IOWA CITY, Ia. — The source of Iowa’s success Saturday wasn’t much of a secret.
When women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder was asked to explain the Hawkeyes’ interior dominance during a 68-46 win over Northern Iowa, she didn’t mince words.
“On the offensive side, we have Morgan Johnson,” Bluder said. “That makes life pretty easy.”
The 6-foot-5 Johnson tormented the Panthers, scoring 19 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and recording five assists.
“She’s such a good target,” Bluder said. “She has such beautiful hands that players have a lot of confidence passing her the ball.
“People try double-teaming her … It doesn’t matter.”
Johnson’s presence in the paint was also a primary reason Northern Iowa shot just 22.6 percent.
She blocked two shots and altered others.
“There’s no question their size bothered us,” Panthers coach Tanya Warren said. “I thought we got good shots. The ball just didn’t fall for us.”
Sophomore guard Samantha Logic contributed 15 points for Iowa, which now leads the all-time series against Northern Iowa 16-2, including 7-1 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“This is such a rivalry for us,” Johnson said. “Especially playing (summer) league with them and getting to know them personally off the court.”
The Hawkeyes (6-3) host Iowa State (5-0) on Thursday.
“We’ll have the luxury of having an actual day off Sunday,” Bluder said. “For (players) not have classes or basketball practice for a day, I think mentally they need that.”
The Panthers (3-4) only trailed 30-24 at halftime, despite failing to make a two-point basket in the opening 18 minutes.
They missed their first 10 attempts from inside the 3-point arc, but kept a crowd of 6,368 in suspense with long-range shots from Jacqui Kalin, Jess McDowell and Brooke Brown.
“We worked the ball around and still got very good shots,” said Kalin, who finished with nine points on 2-of-13 shooting. “We weren’t hitting tonight, which is on us.”
Johnson scored six straight points to give the Hawkeyes a 10-3 lead.
“A team with as much height as us has to focus in on Morgan and (6-4) Beth (Doolittle),” Logic said, “especially Morgan tonight.”
Amber Kirschbaum swished a baseline jumper to end Northern Iowa’s mid-range drought with 1:51 left in the first half.
Johnson hit a layup and made an assist to Logic to help Iowa pull ahead 40-30 with 14:21 left in the game.
Logic went on to score eight of 10 points for the Hawkeyes during a decisive 4-minute stretch, extending the margin to 48-36.
“I thought Sam really led our team and did a good job of ‘We’re going to get into our offense and we’re going to walk before we can run,” Bluder said. “I thought we played a little more reserved tonight.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball