Iowa opened their run in the 2014 NCAA Tournament on Sunday night with an emphatic win over Marist, 87-65. Despite the lopsided final score, the game wasn't a laugher from the get-go for the 3rd seeded Hawkeyes against the 11th seeded Red Foxes. Iowa trailed a few times in the early going but put together an 11-4 run when the game was tied 19-19 that gave them some breathing room. Marist kept it fairly close heading to halftime, trailing just 38-30 at the break. Then Iowa decided to shred the nets.
Here's the thing: Marist didn't play particularly bad in the second half: they scored 35 points on 44% shooting -- that's not great, but it's not horrible, either. (Although they did shoot just 26.7% from deep and 53.8% from the free throw line in the second half, which isn't great.) The problem for Marist was that Iowa was great in the second half: they scored 49 points and shot 62.1% from the field, including 66.7% (8/12) from long range. For the game, Iowa shot 48% (12/25) from 3-point range, which is pretty fantastic. It's even more impressive when you factor in that they missed their first six attempts; they went 12/19 (63%) after that. Marist just couldn't keep up with that level of shooting.
Theairra Taylor led Iowa with 22 points (on 8/11 shooting), while Bethany Doolittle added 21 points. Taylor and Doolittle's scoring kept Iowa afloat in the first half, along with Samantha Logic, who had 11 points in that half. Logic finished the game with... 11 points, but it didn't matter because the rest of the team decided to chip in on the scoring side of the equation. Ally Disterhoft had 8 of her 10 points in the second half (including both of her made 3-pointers) and Melissa Dixon (in foul trouble for most of the first half) had all 12 of her points in the second half. All five Iowa started ended up scoring in double figures. Iowa and Marist entered the game with balanced scoring attacks; each team featured five starters that averaged double figures. Iowa's starters blew out Marist's starters in this game, though, outscoring them 76 to 47.
Speaking of Logic, while she didn't add any additional points to her tally, she did come oh-so-close to yet another triple double: 11 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds. Not too shabby.
With the win, Iowa moves on to play 3rd-seeded Louisville on Tuesday night at 8:30 PM CT at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Louisville made short work of the Idaho Vandals earlier in the day, torching them 88-42. Hopefully Iowa's red-hot second half shooting from the Marist game carries over into that one.