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Iowa dispatches Illinois easily in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Four days after rolling over Illinois in Champaign, 81-56, Iowa took on the Illini again in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament... and again picked up an easy victory, 81-62.  Illinois is a no good very bad basketball team.  Iowa is a good basketball team.  That usually means we end up with results like this one.

To their credit, Illinois didn't just roll over from the opening tip-off.  Illinois kept it close in the first half and even scraped together a 27-26 lead at the final media timeout in the first half.  Unfortunately for them, Iowa put it in gear and ended the half on a 15-2 run to take a comfortable 41-29 lead into the break.  In the second half, Illinois made a late run to cut Iowa's lead (once as high as 22 points) to 9 points, 69-60, but they got no closer and Iowa ended the game on a 12-2 run.

Bethany Doolittle lead Iowa in scoring with 26 points on 10/14 shooting, while outstanding freshman guard Ally Disterhoft added a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds).  Sam Logic had only 5 points, but also 11 rebounds and a team-high 5 assists.  Theairra Taylor didn't quite match her tremendous efforts from the previous few games, but she did have a very sold game: 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Next, Iowa takes on #17 Purdue (the 4-seed in the Big Ten) at approximately 1:30 PM CT Friday.  BTN again has TV coverage.  Iowa lost a heart-breaker to Purdue in the regular season, 74-73, which also happens to be their only loss in the last eight games.  The winner of Iowa-Purdue will play the winner of the Penn State-Ohio State game on Saturday afternoon.