IOWA CITY, Ia. — It wasn’t always pretty, but there was plenty of drama in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Iowa women’s basketball team withstood two rallies by rival Iowa State late Thursday and eventually secured a 50-42 victory.
Reserve guard Melissa Dixon swished two pivotal 3-point shots and drove through the lane for the clinching layup with 1:26 remaining, giving the Hawkeyes a 47-42 lead.
“I was definitely feeling it,” said Dixon, who finished with 11 points in 19 minutes. “We just did a good job finding each other and going with what worked for us.”
The 22nd-ranked Cyclones (5-1) tied the score 39-39 when Hallie Christofferson hit two free throws with 3:58 left.
Dixon answered for Iowa (7-3), hitting her second long-range basket 19 seconds later.
“The first one gave me a lot of confidence,” she said. “Just knowing I could hit the next one, too.”
The home team has won 11 of the past 12 meetings in this series. The last five were decided by an average margin of 16.6 points.
“It was an incredible defensive battle,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “And it was a battle the whole game.”
It was the second time this season the Hawkeyes toppled a ranked opponent. They beat then-No.12 West Virginia 79-70 on Nov.25, but this brought bragging rights.
Christofferson finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds, but entered the postgame press conference in tears.
“’Cause it’s Iowa,” Christofferson explained. “There’s not much more you can say.”
The Cyclones took the court without all-Big12 forward Chelsea Poppens, who went through warmups but did not play.
The 6-foot-2 senior sustained a concussion two weeks ago.
Poppens, who averages 13 points and 9.7 rebounds, would have given Iowa’s Morgan Johnson and Bethany Doolittle a potential matchup problem in the post.
Instead, the Hawkeyes harassed their way to a 14-0 lead.
It probably gave Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly flashbacks of past blowouts in Iowa City.
“It’s tough to spot a team two touchdowns and win the game,” he said.
Sophomore point guard Nikki Moody did not start for Iowa State, as a result of showing up late for a class.
“We have rules,” Fennelly said. “It was probably a coaching decision that I’ll regret.
“But both teams played hard. Both teams guarded hard.”
The Cyclones missed their first 10 shots, while Samantha Logic and Theairra Taylor ignited Iowa with 3-point baskets.
Moody ended Iowa State’s shooting funk with a 3-point swish from the right wing. Her steal and layup trimmed the margin to 16-10.
Anna Prins accounted for Iowa State’s last five points before the break, cutting the Cyclone deficit to 20-17.
Neither team scored during the final 2:45 of the first half, and neither shot 30 percent for the game.
Christofferson, who was scoreless the first 20 minutes, brought Iowa State within 22-20 when she was fouled while making a basket in the paint.
Her free throw was followed by another from Logic.
Moody eventually evened the score 23-23 with her second 3-pointer.
The Cyclones shot 7-of-34 from 3-point range, but made all five free throws. Iowa, meanwhile, was 16-of-25 on foul shots.
“That was probably the difference in the game,” Fennelly said. “We kept coming back, gave ourselves a chance … but tough to score inside.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball