Iowa made it three wins in a row over Nebraska this season with a very solid 74-65 win in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. With each Iowa win over the Cornhuskers, that 9-game Nebraska winning streak fades farther and farther into the distance. Remember when Iowa had never beaten the Huskers since they joined the Big Ten? Ha. Glad those days are gone, baby, gone. Eliminating Nebraska from the Big Ten Tournament was made even sweeter by the fact that the Huskers have done exactly that to Iowa in each of the three previous seasons.
This was the rare game for Iowa where they actually shot worse in the second half (40.7% FG) than the first half (48.4% FG). So how did they turn a nervy 36-33 game at halftime into a relative blowout? Well, the play of their defense was a huge factor -- Nebraska shot a miserable 11/40 (27.5% FG) from the floor in the second frame, including just 4/12 (33.3% 3FG) from deep. Another key factor for Iowa? Free throws -- Iowa went 13/16 (80% FT) from the charity stripe in the second half, including draining several free throws late to deny a Nebraska comeback and keep them at arm's length.
Iowa got big contributions from most of the usual suspects -- Ally Disterhoft led the team with 16 points, but she's much more than just a scorer. She also had 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks; she's the heir to Logic's role as stat sheet stuffer for sure. Logic herself had her usual strong all-around game -- 15 points (on 6/13 shooting), 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks. Bethany Doolittle continued her really strong run of play to end the season, chipping in 15 points (on 7/10 shooting), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 4 blocks. And Iowa also got a very good contribution off the bench from Kali Peschel, who had 13 points (on 4/6 shooting), 4 rebounds, and a block. She was also a one-woman wrecking crew during a stretch that gave Iowa its biggest lead of the game -- she converted two three throws, hauled in a defensive rebound on the other end, then made a 3 to give Iowa a 53-38 lead. Iowa's going to need contributions from bench players in a tournament setting; last night Peschel definitely answered the call.
With the win, Iowa gets a semifinal showdown with Ohio State. The game will be the rubber match between the Hawkeyes and the Buckeyes -- Iowa beat OSU 73-65 in Iowa City, but lost 100-82 in Columbus. Iowa and Ohio State are two of the top-scoring teams in the league, as well as two teams that aren't afraid in the last to push the pace, so this could be a fun, high-scoring game tonight. Let's just hope Iowa's defense is a little bit better than it was in Columbus...
The game tips off at approximately 8:30 PM CT (after the first semifinal, between Maryland and Northwestern), with TV coverage from BTN (and online coverage from BTN2Go).
The usual rules apply.