IOWA CITY -- It's February.
In other words, it's time for the Iowa Hawkeyes to scramble, scratch and surge their way toward the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
The Hawkeyes placed five scorers in double figures and ran away from Michigan State in the second half for an important 74-57 Big Ten victory in front of 7,307 Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"We're used to this," Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. "Year in and year out, it seems we're battling at the end to get a good position in the Big Ten tournament and get in (to the NCAA).
"Here we are again."
Iowa (16-10 overall, 8-5 Big Ten) won its fifth straight game and moved into sole possession of fifth place in the Big Ten.
If the Hawkeyes make the NCAA again, they can credit another February run. Iowa is 29-7 in the last five Februarys, including 4-0 this year.
They've won three straight (all convincingly) without Jaime Printy, who tore her left ACL in the closing seconds of the Wisconsin game. Since that point, Samantha Logic's game has improved immeasurably.
Sunday, the freshman posted 17 points and 13 rebounds.
"(My teammates) are hitting open shots, then we're dumping down to Morgan (Johnson), and that leaves a lot of openings for me," Logic said. "I'm just trying to take advantage of the opportunities when I get them."
The Hawkeyes trailed 33-30 before a seven-point run put them in front for good. It was 50-46 before the Hawkeyes scored 11 straight to pull away. On a defensive trip on that run, Johnson emphatically waved her arms to encourage the Carver crowd to jack up the decibels.
"I was really proud of my teammates, and I didn't want that run to end," said Johnson, who led the Hawkeyes with 18 points.
Iowa had five double-figure scorers for the second time this season (it also did so against Mississippi Valley State). Kamille Wahlin added 11, Theairra Taylor and Bethany Doolittle came off the bench to score 10 apiece.
Logic's three assists gave her 99 this season, matching Printy's freshman record.
"She has elevated her game to another level (after Printy's injury)," said MSU Coach Suzy Merchant, who was accompanied by (and talked less than) her 1-year-old son Brady during the postgame press conference.
"Sometimes you have an energy surge after a teammate goes down. Time will tell (if it will continue)."
MSU slipped to 15-10 and 7-5. The Spartans, the Hawkeyes and Michigan (18-7, 7-5) are scrambling for the fifth through seventh spots in the Big Ten.
Iowa faces Michigan twice in the final three games -- Thursday at Ann Arbor and Feb. 26 at Iowa City.
The Hawkeyes shot to a 12-2 lead before the Spartans got into a groove. Michigan State took its first lead, 26-23, on Annalisa Pickrel's 3-pointer with 5:22 left in the half.
It was 30-30 at intermission.
Iowa did not have an offensive rebound until Logic snagged one at the first-half buzzer.
Porsche Poole led Michigan State with 19 points. Pickrel added 12.
IOWA 74, MICHIGAN STATE 57
At Iowa City
MICHIGAN STATE (57): Lykendra Johnson 3-10 0-2 7, Kiana Johnson 0-3 0-0 0, Porsche Poole 7-17 3-4 19, Klarissa Bell 4-12 2-4 10, Taylor Alton 1-3 0-0 3, Jasmine Thomas 0-2 2-2 2, Jasmine Hines 0-1 1-2 1, Annalise Pickrel 5-11 0-0 12, Courtney Schiffauer 0-0 0-0 0, Becca Mills 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 21-63 9-16 57.
IOWA (74): Kelly Krei 2-7 0-0 5, Morgan Johnson 7-14 4-5 18, Kamille Wahlin 4-10 2-2 11, Melissa Dixon 1-5 0-0 3, Samantha Logic 6-10 4-4 13, Kalli Hansen 0-0 0-0 0, Trisha Nesbitt 0-1 0-0 0, Theairra Taylor 3-4 4-4 10, Kathryn Reynolds 0-1 0-0 0, Bethany Doolittle 3-4 4-5 10. Totals 26-56 18-20 74.
Halftime: Iowa 30, Michigan State 30. 3-point goals: Michigan State 6-22 (L.Johnson 1-2, K.Johnson 0-2, Poole 2-7, Bell 0-2, Alton 1-3, Pickrel 2-5, Mills 0-1), Iowa 4-18 (Krei 1-5, Wahlin 1-5, Dixon 1-4, Logic 1-2, Nesbitt 0-1, Reynolds 0-1). Team fouls: Michigan State 20, Iowa 13. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Michigan State 42 (L.Johnson, Bell 8), Iowa 36 (Logic 13). Assists: Michigan State 12 (Poole 5), Iowa 15 (Wahlin 6). Steals: Michigan State 9 (Poole 3), Iowa 7 (Taylor 3). Turnovers: Michigan State 19, Iowa 14.
|BIG TEN STANDINGS||Conf.||All|
Iowa 74, Michigan State 57
Penn State 77, Northwestern 63
Illinois 61, Indiana 60
Ohio State 80, Purdue 71
MONDAY'S GAMENebraska at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m.