Coming off a disappointing home loss to Michigan State on Thursday, Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder was looking for a way to spark her team.
She didn’t have to look any further than freshman Ally Disterhoft.
In her first career start, Disterhoft turned in the best game of her young career Saturday.
The West High graduate posted a double-double with career-highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds as Iowa held off Ohio State 81-74 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
“Ally has been playing obviously a whole bunch of minutes throughout the year but we just felt like we needed a little bit more offensive firepower in there in the starting lineup,” Bluder said. “She came through.”
Disterhoft’s career-high 24 points led five Iowa players in double figures as the Hawkeyes improved to 15-5 on the season and evened their Big Ten record at 3-3.
It didn’t take Disterhoft long to get comfortable in her role as a starter.
The 6-foot-0 freshman scored eight of Iowa’s first 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Hawkeyes jumped to an early 12-6 lead and never trailed.
Disterhoft finished an efficient 5-of-9 from the field, was 2-of-3 from 3-point range and hit all 12 of her free throw attempts including six in the final 28 seconds that secured the win for Iowa.
“Sometimes you worry about a freshman in their first start that they are pushing a little too much,” Bluder said. “But she comes up with a double-double, perfect 12-for-12 from the line including some crunch time free throws.”
Iowa led by as many as 17 in the first half and took a 49-36 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Hawkeyes led by 13 with 11:43 left in the game following a Samantha Logic layup, but Ohio State scored the next 11 points to cut the lead to 64-62.
Clinging to a 68-66 lead with 6:05 left, Iowa got a basket from Bethany Doolittle to push the lead to four and, following a missed shot by Ohio State, Melissa Dixon hit a 3-pointer to give Iowa a 73-66 lead with 4:03 left.
Ohio State would get no closer than three points the rest of the way as Logic converted a basket with 1:49 left to make the score 75-70 and Disterhoft put the game away with six straight free throws in the final 30 seconds.
“I think that’s what makes this win special is because we are on the road and we got the win but also they kept coming back at us and we withstood their challenges,” Bluder said. “They got within two and we came up with a big bucket and a big rebound.”
Dixon finished with 16 points while Doolittle added 14 and Theairra Taylor had 11 points, a team-high seven rebounds and three assists.
Freshman Alexa Kastanek came off the bench and hit 2-of-3 3-pointers on her way to 10 points as Iowa shot 47 percent (8-of-17) from beyond the 3-point arc.
Ohio State (12-9, 2-3), which dropped its second consecutive Big Ten game, was led by Ameryst Alston with 24 points and six rebounds.
Iowa will be off until returning to action at 6 p.m. Saturday against Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“It’s always nice going in to a bye week off of a win because then you can enjoy the bye week a little more,” Bluder said. “You feel better about yourself. You still want to go to practice and work extremely hard obviously, but it’s just a lot better way to spend a bye week with a win than a loss.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball