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Hawkeye women oust Purdue with final push in Big Ten quarterfinal

[ 0 ] March 7, 2014 |

INDIANAPOLIS — On Thursday, Iowa got the rematch it wanted with Purdue.

Friday, the Hawkeyes got the Boilermakers.

No. 23 Iowa overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 12 minutes to earn an 87-80 win over No. 17 Purdue in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The win was the fifth straight for Iowa (25-7) and avenged a one-point regular season loss to the Boilermakers.

It also sent the Hawkeyes into the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2010, where they will face eighth-seeded Ohio State at 2:30 p.m. today.

“It was referred to quite often in the last 24 hours, and you know, honestly, probably before then even, too,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said of the loss at Purdue on Feb 16. “Our players wanted this rematch, they wanted to have the opportunity to play Purdue again.”

Iowa guard Ally Disterhoft (2) shoots in front of Purdue guard April Wilson in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten women's tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., Friday, March 7, 2014. Iowa defeated Purdue 87-80. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Iowa guard Ally Disterhoft (2) shoots in front of Purdue guard April Wilson in the second half Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Melissa Dixon led Iowa with 18 points as five Hawkeyes scored in double figures.

Senior Theairra Taylor added 17, Bethany Doolittle had 16 all in the second half, while Samantha Logic and Ally Disterhoft each added 12 points for Iowa.

“I wanted this more than anything,” Taylor said. “As soon as we beat Illinois, it was instantly on my mind. I want that Big Ten trophy, and we are going to keep working until we get it.”

Iowa led by 16 points at halftime in the regular-season meeting at Purdue before the Boilermakers rallied for the win, hitting two free throws with seven seconds left.

Friday, Iowa reversed the script on Purdue (21-8) snapping the Boilermakers Big Ten-best six-game winning streak with a second-half rally of their own.

“With 12 minutes left, you’re down seven, you easily could fold or easily could just lose your focus, and I think we kept our focus today,” Logic said. “On our team, anyone can make a play. We had a couple of different people today at some point make huge plays, and that’s what we feed off of.”

Purdue led 39-35 at halftime and seemed to seize control of the game midway through the second half when a Liza Clemmons layup put the Boilermakers in front 56-49 with 12:15 left.

Iowa got back in the game with a 6-0 run that took just 23 seconds.

Dixon hit a 3-pointer off an inbounds play, and 23 seconds later Logic converted a traditional 3-point play to cut the lead to 56-55.

Purdue pushed the lead back to six at 69-63 with 6:20 left, but the rest of the game was all Iowa.

Iowa rattled off a 10-1 run to take a 73-70 lead and never trailed again, hitting of 12 free throws over the final 3:12.

“The entire game was just a battle, we had to fight the entire time,” Dixon said. “We just had to stay together. We kept believing, we kept fighting and just kept playing the way we know we can.”

Purdue cut the lead to one on twice in the final 3:03 but both times Disterhoft had an answer.

She hit a pair of free throws following an offensive rebound to make the score 75-72 with 2:44 left.

Then, following a Purdue score, Disterhoft scored on a driving layup with 1:56 left to make the score 77-74, and the Boilermakers wouldn’t get closer than five points the rest of the game.

The freshman from West High missed part of the first half after falling into a chair, and missed her first nine field goal attempts, but finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

“Obviously, the first half for me was a little rough. But my teammates and coaches were just encouraging me throughout halftime and the second half,” Disterhoft said. “We believe in each other so much, and when you have a group of girls that believe in each other that much you can do some pretty great things, and I think that’s what we did here today.”

Disterhoft and Doolittle combined for two points on 0-of-11 shooting in the first half, but together scored half of the Hawkeyes 52 second-half points.

Limited to seven first-half minutes by foul trouble, Doolittle hit 7-of-11 field goal attempts in the second half.

“Bethany can have a bad first half, Ally can have a bad first half. and although I don’t like it, I still believe in them,” Bluder said. “I believe in both of those players so much that they’re going come back and at halftime they regrouped mentally, came back and give us some great minutes.”

Courtney Moses scored a game-high 24 points for Purdue, but was just 3-for-9 from the floor in the second half.

Purdue shot 51 percent Friday compared to just 44 percent for Iowa, but the Hawkeyes forced the Boilermakers into 20 turnovers while committing just 11.

Iowa attempted 69 field goals compared to 59 for Purdue, and outscored the Boilermakers 22 to 13 at the foul line.

“We had 10 more opportunities to shoot the ball today than Purdue. That’s huge,” Bluder said. “Ten more opportunities because we took care of the ball and they didn’t, and a lot of that is fundamentals and being smart.”
Statistics: Iowa 87, Purdue 80

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

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