By Don Lund
Iowa’s women won two games last week and now have won six in a row.
The Hawkeyes picked up a big 97-91 win over 22nd-ranked Syracuse Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
When I take pictures at Iowa games I usually sit under the basket that the Hawks will be shooting at in the first half.
That is also closest to the visitors’ bench.
When I saw the Syracuse players lined up at their bench I noticed a lot of size, length and depth.
They played 10 players and were 8-0 coming into Carver.
What the Q’s didn’t have is Melissa Dixon (27 points), Bethany Doolittle (25 points, six rebounds and four blocks), an injured Samantha Logic (14 points, seven assists and eight stitches), Kali Peschel (10 points, eight rebounds and six assists) and Theairra Taylor (9 points, eight assists and seven rebounds).
That is a pretty powerful starting lineup.
Iowa had 28 assists on 33 baskets and that is great ball movement, which resulted in 50 percent shooting for the game.
Samantha went down in the first half with a cut above her eye on an inadvertent elbow. She was back with eight stitches and a big bandage on her forehead before the end of the half.
The Hawks fell behind by as many as 14, but Melissa Dixon scored all of her points in the second half, including seven 3-pointers, which tied a Hawkeye record again.
“They are a remarkable group,” said head coach Lisa Bluder. “They keep believing no matter what. They believe in each other. We shot the ball well and everybody contributed. That’s what’s fun is when everybody’s involved.”
The Hawks shook off a slow start in Carver Saturday and cruised to a 95-47 win over Idaho State.
Melissa Dixon continued her hot streak, hitting six 3-pointers and leading Iowa with 27 points. She has hit 20 3-pointers in the last three games and is shooting 59 percent in those three games. That’s the most in a three-game stretch in school history.
Can you believe that before Melissa went to Cancun she was shooting only 15 percent from behind the arc? She is now shooting 35 percent from 3-point land and leads Iowa in scoring, averaging 16 points per game.
The Hawkeyes set a school record with 17 3-pointers for the game.
Lisa Bluder really likes to have her team with balanced scoring and Iowa had four players in double-figures Saturday.
The head coach also likes the fact that Iowa is a great passing team and they finished the game with 28 assists on 31 baskets.
“I like the balance,” said coach Bluder. “The assists column, the balance in the assists column is really exciting because everybody is getting in the flow of passing the ball really well.”
For the season, the Hawks have five players averaging in double-figures led by Melissa, Bethany Doolittle (14.4), Samantha Logic (13.5), Ally Disterhoft coming off the bench (11.5) and Theairra Taylor (10.0).
Bethany has doubled her scoring output from last year.
The 6-4 junior averaged 7.2 point last season and is scoring 14.4 this year.
Kali Peschel has also really stepped up her game.
Last year Kali played in 28 games, scored 16 points and had 29 rebounds with no starts… for the season!
This year she has started all 11 games, scored 86 points and grabbed 72 rebounds, which is tied with Ally Disterhoft for the team lead.
What a difference a year and more confidence makes for Kali.