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Penn State’s size too much for Iowa women in Big Ten opener

[ 0 ] January 5, 2014 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Lisa Bluder said last week her team’s matchup with No. 15 Penn State would present a big challenge.

Bluder’s comments turned out to be true in more than one way.

Penn State used a decided size advantage to muscle its way past No. 22 Iowa 87-71 in front of more than 6,000 fans Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

All-American Maggie Lucas scored a game-high 27 points for Penn State but it was the Nittany Lions’ size that proved to be too much for the Hawkeyes to overcome.

Penn State post players Talia East and Tori Waldner combined for 20 points and 18 rebounds as the Nittany Lions improved to 10-3 overall and 1-0 in Big 10 play.

Penn State's Candice Agee blocks a shot by Iowa's Melissa Dixon Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (David Scrivner/Press-Citizen)

Penn State’s Candice Agee blocks a shot by Iowa’s Melissa Dixon Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (David Scrivner/Press-Citizen)

“It was a tough mismatch situation,” Bluder said of Penn State’s size. “We tried to deny and provide some back-side help but they are just very big, they are very strong and they are hard to get around.”

An early outburst by last year’s Big 10 Player of the Year Lucas put Iowa in an early hole and Penn State’s size advantage proved to be too big of a mountain for the Hawkeyes to climb.

Lucas hit two 3-pointers in the opening 2:10 of the game and scored 11 of Penn State’s first 20 points as the Nittany Lions built a 20-8 lead less than six minutes into the game.

Penn State never trailed as the Nittany Lions held a 50-34 rebounding edge and had a 16-1 edge in second-chance points.

“We gave up 16 offensive second-chance points, 16 to 1,” Bluder said. “We got beat by 16 and the margin of offensive second-chance points is 15.”

Iowa trailed 38-30 at halftime but quickly cut into the Penn State margin in the second half.

The Hawkeyes got within one at 44-43 on a Theairra Taylor layup with 15:52 left but just as they did all game Penn State had an answer.

East converted a conventional 3-point play on the ensuing Penn State possession to push the lead back to 47-43.

After another basket by Taylor trimmed the lead to 47-45, Penn State scored the next five points, pushing the margin back to seven on a basket in the paint by Waldner.

The 6-foot-5 Waldner finished with 10 points and eight rebounds while the 6-3 East added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“They are big, they are strong, they are fast and probably better than us in all of those areas,” Bluder said. “When you are going against a team like that, you really have to stick to fundamentals and you have to shoot the ball really well and we did not do those things.”

Iowa got as close as three points on a 3-pointer by Samantha Logic with 9:15 left but Penn State answered with a 9-2 run that was capped by a Lucas 3-pointer and pushed the lead to 70-60.

The Hawkeyes wouldn’t get closer than nine the rest of the way.

“We got it within three with nine minutes to go in the game and they just took it at us after that,” Bluder said. “We’d get close and then boom, they would have a little run.”

Junior Melissa Dixon led Iowa with 22 points, while Logic added a double-double of 13 points and 12 assists.

Taylor added 10 points for Iowa, which dropped to 12-4 with its third loss to a ranked team.

The Hawkeyes fell to 0-2 in Big Ten play and will try to rebound on Wednesday when they host Minnesota at 7 p.m.

“The Big Ten is a really long season, so we just need to use this loss to learn from it and bounce back,” Dixon said. “We have a tough Minnesota coming in here on Wednesday.”

Statistics: Penn State 87, Iowa 71

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

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