The Iowa women’s basketball team needed a strong performance Friday night against another top 25 opponent.
What the Hawkeyes got in return was perhaps their best 40 minutes of the season during an 86-63 thrashing of 20th ranked Texas during first-round action at the Maggie Dixon Surf ‘N Slam Classic hosted by San Diego University.
“We moved the ball well, we knocked down shots and it was a lot of fun,” said Iowa senior guard Jaime Printy, who finished with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
Printy was one of four Hawkeyes who finished in double-figures as Iowa (10-3) shot 52 percent from the field, turned it over just 10 times and got a 29-point performance from its bench.
Leading the bench production was sophomore sharpshooter Melissa Dixon, who finished with a game-high and career-high 23 points. She canned 5 of her 10 shots from long range.
“It felt good,” Dixon said. “We played with some great intensity. We did a good job of letting our defense dictate our offense. We moved the ball well and I was just fortunate to get some open shots.
“I am just trying to do what I can to help this team win. Coming off the bench is my role. I have a lot of confidence, especially after seeing the first few shots go down.”
The Hawkeyes used a 15-2 run during a five-minute stretch late in the first half to take control and never looked back. It was Iowa’s third win over a top 25 opponent this season having already defeated then No. 12 West Virginia and then No. 22 Iowa State.
“It’s a huge win confidence-wise, but also for the long run and our hope of making postseason play,” Printy said. “It’s such a good feeling, and I am just really proud of my team.”
Morgan Johnson and Bethany Doolittle also finished in double-figures with 20 and 11, respectively, while sophomore point guard Sam Logic had just two points on three shots but collected a rare double-double.
Logic was 1-for-3 from the floor but finished with 15 rebounds and a school-record 14 assists to just three turnovers. She tied the previous school record of 12 earlier this season against Middle Tennessee.
“Sam played great tonight,” Printy said. “Fourteen assists is just unheard of.”
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder agreed.
“I have been coaching 20 years and I don’t know if I have ever seen a guard have a double-double without being points,” Bluder said. “Those are amazing numbers.”
Iowa managed to hold down a tough Texas (7-3) squad on its way to a fifth consecutive win. The Hawkeyes will now play host San Diego (8-3) in Sunday’s championship game. Texas will play Central Michigan in the third-place game. The Chippewas (5-6) lost to San Diego in overtime Friday night.
“Our kids were fired up to play a ranked team on a neutral floor and we took full advantage of it,” Bluder said. “We socked them early. We shot the ball well, we defended well, we rebounded.”
Iowa scored 40 points in the paint and collected 24 points off 16 Longhorn miscues. Texas trailed by 20 at halftime and turned it over 4 times in the first 20 minutes.
“We came into the locker room feeling pretty good about ourselves,” Bluder said. “We tried to keep our confidence high.”
Texas got a double-double performance from Nneka Enemkpali, who finished with 13 points and 12 boards. Imani McGee-Stafford scored 12, while Chassidy Fussell contributed 11.
The Longhorns shot just 39 percent from the floor and was just 15-of-28 from the free throw line. Iowa also outscored Texas 9-0 in fastbreak points.
The Hawkeyes will next turn their attention to the championship game where they will take on the host school. Iowa-San Diego will tip off at 4 p.m. Sunday. The Toreros outlasted Central Michigan, 78-72, In overtime in the other game Friday.
“Now we have to play the home team, so this is always a little but more difficult,” Bluder said. “We saw them them play a very good zone defense (Friday) and we’ll have to be ready for that. They will have the crowd with them.”