When you're hot, you're hot. And against Michigan on Thursday afternoon in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, Iowa was absolutely en fuego. Iowa torched the nets to the tune of 97 points (!) behind 60.7% shooting from the floor (including 66.7% shooting from 3-point range) in their win over Michigan. For long stretches of the game, Iowa simply couldn't miss. Michigan's offense wasn't really bad in this game -- they put up 85 points on 44.4% shooting for the game. They just couldn't keep pace with Iowa's scorching shooting.
It didn't start out that way, though -- Iowa started very slowly and found themselves behind 24-8 at one point in the first quarter. Once the shots started falling, though, they barely let up for Iowa. The Hawkeyes outscored Michigan 31-13 in the second quarter, part of a 44-18 run to end the first half that gave Iowa a 52-42 lead going into the break. Iowa was especially red hot from behind the arc in the first half, draining 5/7 threes (led by Ally Disterhoft's three triples). Michigan bounced back slightly in the third quarter (they outscored Iowa 20-18) and a pair of quick three-pointers in the fourth quarter cut Iowa's lead to just two points and brought back memories of Iowa's countless fourth quarter misadventures this season. But Iowa got four quick points from Megan Gustafson (a layup and two free throws) to extend their lead to six points and Michigan never got any closer the rest of the way.
Three-point shooting and turnovers have been regular problems from Iowa this year but neither gave them trouble in this game. Iowa hit a stunning 8/12 long range shots, led by Disterhoft going 4/4 from deep. (Tania Davis went 2/2 and Christina Buttenham came off the bench to go 2/3 from beyond the arc for Iowa.) Iowa also turned the ball over just 9 times, well below their season average of 16.1 entering the game. Iowa had a huge advantage in points off turnovers in this game -- Michigan turned the ball over just 11 times, but Iowa turned those giveaways into 21 points.
Highlights and Reaction From Iowa's 97-85 Win Over Michigan in Big Ten Tournament https://t.co/ztv3e9zQW9— Iowa Women's BBall (@IowaWBB) March 3, 2016
Iowa got big games from all five starters in this contest, led by freshman Megan Gustafson who celebrated her inclusion on the Big Ten's All-Freshman team by going off for 25 points (on 10/13 shooting) and 10 rebounds in this game. She's been a double-double machine of late and she kept right on rolling here. Nor was Gustafson the only Hawkeye to post a double-double -- Chase Coley scored 20 points (on identical 10/13 shooting) and also snared 10 rebounds and point guard Tania Davis added 10 points (on 4/10 shooting) and 10 assists (for the game Iowa had 28 assists on 37 made field goals; hello, good ball movement). Ally Disterhoft didn't have a double-double, but she did score 22 points (on 8/11 shooting) while adding 5 rebounds and 5 assists; her 3-pointers were a key spark for Iowa's first half run. Whitney Jennings added 11 points (on 3/10 shooting) with 5 assists -- and also did Michigan dirty:
Iowa's Whitney Jennings gives Michigan a little taste of Curry pic.twitter.com/1MVlvUuqfe— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) March 3, 2016
The win helps Iowa's chances of getting into the NCAA Tournament, but they still have more work to do; they very likely need to at least make the finals of the Big Ten Tournament. That won't be easy, though, because their reward for beating Michigan is a clash with #1 seed Maryland at 11 AM CT tomorrow. Maryland beat Iowa 76-56 in Iowa City earlier this season. Let's hope Iowa has some red-hot shooting in them -- they're going to need every last drop of it to get by the Terps.