IOWA CITY, Iowa – For the third consecutive season the Hawkeyes are headed to the Round of 32 and for the third consecutive year that game will take place in Iowa City. Iowa will move on to play #11 Miami (FL) after holding off #14 American University 75-67.
Ally Disterhoft led the way for the Hawkeyes with 18 points and Melissa Dixon continued her remarkable season beyond the arc, hitting 4 of her 5 attempts to spark Iowa.
The game remained tight all through the first half, with the score tied at 36 heading into the half and five different lead changes. The second half was competitive, but Iowa never relinquished the lead once Dixon hit a three pointer just 31 seconds into the half.
“We got a couple more defensive stops,” Iowa guard Samantha Logic said. “We want to push out in transition and really attack the paint so that we can get some threes. Al [Disterhoft] shot the ball really well today for us, which really spreads the floor.”
American University came in riding an 11 game winning streak, champions of both the Patriot League regular season and tournament, and with the most wins in the program’s history. Not to mention, making its first NCAA appearance ever.
The early X-factor for American was Ari Booth, who came off the bench and went 4 of 5 on 3 point attempts. She totaled 14 points in the first half. She entered the afternoon averaging just 4.4 points per game. She provided 17 of American’s 22 bench points.
“I had a lot of space and if you give me that much space, I am going to shoot,” Booth said. “I was getting great screens from my post players and I just felt good about it. I had a clean look and was able to take it.”
Freshman Whiney Jennings bounced back strong after a combined 1-15 performance from the field during the Big Ten Tournament. She nailed the first three of the game en route to a 16-point performance.
“Whitney played really well,” Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder said. “We had some time off and she came back with a completely different attitude. Five players in double figures, I love that.”
There are some areas of concern for the Hawkeyes moving forward. For the second consecutive game Iowa was out rebounded, 32-26.
“We need to do a better job on the boards than we did today,” Bluder said. “We need to do a better job in transition defense. I always find thing we need to work on, but definitely those things we need to do a better job with.”
The Hawkeyes will have a tough matchup against Miami on Sunday. The Hurricanes are no strangers to highly ranked opponents with a win earlier this season against Notre Dame.
“They are a great team from a really good conference,” Bluder said. “We know we are going to have our work cut out for us on Sunday. Hopefully home court is going to help us out a little bit.”
Iowa and Miami (FL) will face off Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT) with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16.