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MSU women's basketball wins first game at Iowa since 2007

January 16, 2014

For the first time since 2007, the women’s basketball team will leave Iowa City with a win.

Aided by hot shooting from behind the arc, the women’s basketball team built a 21-point halftime lead and cruised to a win Thursday night, defeating Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 88-72.

It’s also head coach Suzy Merchant’s first win at Iowa for her career.

Redshirt freshman guard Aerial Powers lead the Spartans with 20 points and eight rebounds, but had five turnovers. Freshman guard Tori Jankoska had 19 points, three rebounds and three assists, and senior forward Annalise Pickrel had 16 points, nine boards and hit four 3-pointers on six attempts.

Junior center Bethany Doolittle had 21 points for the Hawkeyes. Junior guard Samantha Logic had 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, five rebounds, six assists, three steals and four turnovers.

MSU drained nine 3-pointers on 14 attempts and shot 51 percent overall. They also won the battle under the bucket, outrebounding Iowa 44-29.

The Spartans got off to a quick start, draining seven of their first nine shots to build a 15-8 lead. Johnson drained her second 3 of the game with 9:27 to play, leading to an Iowa timeout as the lead grew to 31-18. By that point, MSU was 3-5 from deep.

The defensive intensity continued, as Iowa couldn’t find the bottom of the rim for another three minutes. Powers nailed a jumper to push the lead to 20, 38-18 with six minutes left. Doolittle finally hit a jumper to snap the 11-point Spartan run.

With 10 seconds remaining before halftime, head coach Suzy Merchant whistled a timeout to draw up a play. It paid off, as Mills made a jumper with a second to spare to make it a 21-point halftime lead.

Tori Jankoska drained back-to-back threes midway through the second to give the Spartans a 24-point lead, 66-42. Following two free throws by Doolittle, Pickrel drained another 3 a minute later to push the lead to 27, making it a 14-2 Spartan run.

MSU would lead by as many as 29 in the second half but couldn’t maintain the defensive pressure as Iowa outscored MSU 24-11 in the final seven minutes to make the final score more respectable.

The Spartans will return to action Sunday, taking on No. 16 Penn State at Breslin Center at 5 p.m.

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