INDIANAPOLIS — Winning tournament games in March is nothing new for Iowa freshmen Alexa Kastanek and Ally Disterhoft.
Disterhoft and Kastanek both played in multiple state tournaments and won state titles in high school, Disterhoft at Iowa City West and Kastanek at Southeast High School in Lincoln, Neb.
Even with their extensive history of March excellence, what the two freshmen did Thursday in the first collegiate post-season game of their careers raised more than a few eyebrows.
The freshman duo combined for 19 points and 14 rebounds, helping lift Iowa past Illinois 81-62 in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.
“That was huge for both Alexa and Ally to play like that,” Iowa junior point guard Sam Logic said. “In their first Big Ten Tournament games and with me and Theairra (Taylor) in foul trouble, what they did is just massive. They played great when we needed it.”
Disterhoft continued her superb debut season with the third double-double of her career finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The 6-foot-0 guard was 4-of-7 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line in her first game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse but it was her game and career-high 12 rebounds that drew the most praise from Iowa coach Lisa Bluder
“Ally is a competitor, and I know she looks like a little scrawny kid but she’s not, she’s tough,” Bluder said. “Mentally, she’s very, very strong. I mean, she won a state championship. She knows what it’s like to compete. She’s played in tough AAU tournaments. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that she would understand that she needs to step up.”
Kastanek was nearly as impressive in her first career post season game.
The freshman point guard played a Big Ten-high 22 minutes while filling in for Logic who missed extensive time in the first half with foul trouble.
Kastanek finished with five points and five assists as the two freshmen combined for seven assists against five turnovers.
With Logic sidelined for the final 4:50 of the first half with three fouls, Kastanek helped the Hawkeyes mount a 15-2 run capping the spurt with a 3-pointer 10 seconds before halftime.
“I just wanted to keep my composure the entire time,” Kastanek said. “It’s different coming as a point guard because you run the team, so coming in I just had to make sure I kept my composure and limited my turnovers and just kept the team going and kept them positive.”
• With Thursday’s win, Iowa improved to 21-1 when leading at halftime.
• The 29 3-pointers attempted by Illinois on Thursday set a Big Ten Tournament record. Illinois finished 8-of-29 from beyond the 3-point arc.
• Senior Amber Moore led Illinois with 26 points, her eighth 20-point performance of the season.
• Eighth-seeded Ohio State held off Northwestern 86-77 in the first opening-round game behind 30 points from Ameryst Alston.
• Ohio State (16-17) will face top-seeded and No. 11 Penn State (22-6) in the quarterfinals.
• No. 7 seed Michigan (18-12) got 18 points and 11 rebounds from Cyesha Goree to down tenth seed Indiana 82-57.
• Michigan will face second-seed Michigan State in the quarterfinals.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball