BLUDER TRIBUTE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-cUIEM9k1Q
IOWA CITY -- Lisa Bluder stood at the center circle of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, clutching a commemorative basketball and craning her neck at the video board that hangs from the arena ceiling.
Former player Lindsey Meder Cowherd congratulated Bluder in a taped statement, then football coach Kirk Ferentz did likewise.
Then it was C. Vivian Stringer's turn.
"That was a surprise," Bluder said after she surpassed Stringer as the winningest women's basketball coach in University of Iowa history Monday night. "The whole thing was a surprise."
Melissa Dixon drained six 3-pointers in a 24-point outing, Samantha Logic narrowly missed another triple-double, and the Hawkeyes sidestepped Northwestern, 90-84, in a Big Ten encounter in front of 3,684.
"It's amazing to be part of this," Dixon said. "It's a huge honor. She's a great coach and a better person."
Bluder improved to 270-163 in 14 seasons at Iowa. She pulled even with Stringer (269-84 in a 12-season run that ended in 1995) Thursday when the Hawkeyes (19-6 overall, 7-4 Big Ten) upset Penn State, then assumed the top floor solo Monday.
But it's incorrect she stands alone at the top.
Bluder pulled assistants Jan Jensen and Jenni Fitzgerald to join her at midcourt during the postgame celebration. And before departing into the tunnel, she embraced her children and shared a kiss with her husband, David Bluder.
"I came here 14 years ago, and I was thankful for (former UI women's athletics director Christine Grant) for giving me a five-year contract," Bluder said. "I'm extremely thankful to her, and to Jan and Jenni for sticking with me all these years."
Iowa AD Gary Barta called Bluder's longevity "a rarity in this business.
"She believes in our slogan -- to win, to graduate and to do it the right way," Barta said.
Bluder is in her 30th year overall; she had previous stops at St. Ambrose and at Drake. She holds a 626-305 overall record.
Let the record show that this victory wasn't a cinch. Northwestern (14-10, 4-7) made it a challenge, scoring 10 straight points to take a 63-62 lead with 9:48 remaining.
Iowa responded with a 12-2 surge for a 74-65 advantage, then weathered every push the Wildcats made.
"I thought we made this a little harder than we needed to," Bluder said. "We missed some free throws and we got careless against their press."
Logic made two free throws with 52 seconds left to give Iowa an 88-78 advantage, but Northwestern cut it to 88-84 and had a shot to pull closer in the final seconds that was off the mark.
Logic canned two more foul shots with 0:05 remaining to salt it away. After posting a triple-double at Penn State four days earlier, the junior point guard nearly did it again.
She settled for 20 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
"Slacking, isn't she?" Bluder quipped.
Dixon made 6 of 9 shots from long distance in her team-leading 24-point effort.
All five starters reached double figures; Theairra Taylor scored 16, Bethany Doolittle 14 and Ally Disterhoft 11 points and nine boards.
Nia Coffey paced Northwestern with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Lauren Douglas added 25 points.
The Hawkeyes host Illinois on Thursday.
IOWA 90, NORTHWESTERN 84
At Iowa City
NORTHWESTERN (84): Alex Cohen 1-3 0-0 2, Nia Coffey 12-21 4-9 29, Ashley Deary 1-4 2-2 4, Christen Inman 4-13 2-2 10, Maggie Lyon 3-11 3-3 10, Meghan McKeown 0-1 0-0 0, Lauren Douglas 10-16 2-2 25, Karly Roser 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 33-73 13-18 84.
IOWA (90): Bethany Doolittle 7-15 0-0 14, Ally Disterhoft 4-11 3-7 11, Melissa Dixon 7-11 4-4 24, Samantha Logic 6-8 7-7 20, Theairra Taylor 7-15 2-3 16, Alexa Kastanek 2-4 0-0 4, Claire Till 0-0 0-0 0, Kali Peschel 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 33-64 17-23 90.
Halftime: Iowa 43, Northwestern 39. 3-point goals: Northwestern 5-18 (Coffey 1-1, Deary 0-1, Inman 0-2, Lyon 1-7, McKeown 0-1, Douglas 3-6), Iowa 7-18 (Disterhoft 0-2, Dixon 6-9, Logic 1-2, Taylor 0-3, Kastanek 0-2). Team fouls: Northwestern 19, Iowa 15. Fouled out: Deary, Douglas. Rebounds: Northwestern 34 (Coffey 10), Iowa 41 (Disterhoft 9). Assists: Northwestern 19 (Deary, Roser 4), Iowa 22 (Logic 10). Steals: Northwestern 8 (Inman, Lyon 3), Iowa 5 (five with 1). Turnovers: Northwestern 10, Iowa 11.Attendance: 3,684