Theairra Taylor pushed the Iowa women’s basketball team to a 65-61 Senior Night win over Ohio State on Thursday in her final game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Taylor finished with a season-high 21 points, including a layup to make it a two-possession game with less than two minutes remaining to put the score out of reach.
This is the first time Iowa (22-7, 10-5 Big Ten) has won two or more games in a single season against the Buckeyes (15-16, 5-10) since 1998.
Taylor continued to cap off an Iowa career that includes three ACL injuries within a 20-month span, but she returned and has now started every game dating back to last season, making big contributions in the process.
“This was Theairra’s night,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “This was a win for the Hawks, kept us in contention for fourth place in the Big Ten, but most importantly we wanted to honor Thee. How fitting for us to win, and for her to have the game-high and season-high (in points).”
The contest was close throughout, as both teams exchanged leads 17 times and the score was tied nine times.
Iowa dominated in transition, outscoring Ohio State 20-6 in fast-break points, helped by Taylor — who also had seven rebounds and four assists.
“I saw the game kind of getting away from us, and I knew I had to pick it up defensively,” Taylor said. “That’s the only place you can really do it. Offense has to come to you, but on defense you can make that happen on your own.”
Iowa stalled offensively early in the second half, going four and a half minutes without scoring. Ohio State took advantage with an 8-0 run of its own to stake out a 51-44 advantage.
But the Hawkeyes stormed back.
Melissa Dixon’s layup put the Black and Gold back in front 52-51, and a Dixon 3-pointer later increased the lead to 61-55, which led to a chorus of cheers from the home crowd. The Buckeyes got back within two, but Bluder’s Bunch was able to hold the lead to walk away with a victory.
Dixon finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, Bethany Doolittle had 12 points, and Ally Disterhoft added seven points and 10 rebounds. Samantha Logic dished out a game-high 10 assists.
In the first half there was no breathing room to be had, either.
Trailing 10-5 five minutes in to the contest, the Hawkeyes went on a 10-2 run. But Ohio State pulled back courtesy of Ameryst Alston, who finished with 18 points. Iowa led by four with four minutes remaining in the half, but the two teams shuffled leads again and went into halftime with the Hawkeyes leading 36-34.
But it was Taylor’s game. Her night had arrived, and she took advantage of the big stage.
Could she have written up a better Senior Night?
“Not really,” Taylor said. “Maybe not sweat so much towards the end, but it was a great game and everyone played hard. I’m happy.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball