INDIANAPOLIS - Iowa players wanted a rematch with Purdue and weren’t shy about saying as much.
They made good on that desire when given the opportunity Friday.
Iowa rallied from a late six-point deficit to beat Purdue, 87-80, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, bouncing the two-time defending tournament champions.
“We could have easily folded,” said Iowa junior Samantha Logic, who had 12 points and 11 assists. “Or we could have just lost our focus, but I think we kept our focus today.”
The Hawkeyes will play No. 8-seed Ohio State in a 2:30 p.m. semifinal today. The Buckeyes made 10 3-pointers in the first half and upset top-seeded Penn State, 99-82.
Iowa had plenty of motivation against Purdue, never fully shaking the feeling it experienced after squandering a 16-point halftime lead in a one-point loss at Purdue nearly three weeks ago.
“That was big and referred to quite often in the last 24 hours, and honestly, probably before that, too,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Our players wanted this revenge, to have the opportunity to play Purdue again. In all respect to Purdue, they’re a great team, but it hurts when you’re up 16 and lose by one point. Those things stay with you.”
Purdue was the team this time around left to wonder what went wrong. Iowa scored on nine consecutive possessions late in the game, turning a six-point deficit into an 81-74 lead with 40 seconds remaining.
All five Iowa starters finished with double-figure scoring. Melissa Dixon provided 18 points and Theairra Taylor added 17.
“You just don’t know where the ball is going to go to on our team,” Logic said. “Anyone can make a play and we had a couple of different people today make huge plays. That’s what we feed off of and that’s what we look to do.”
Iowa junior Bethany Doolittle scored all 16 of her points in the second half. Freshman Ally Disterhoft scored 10 of her 12 points in the final six minutes of the game. Dixon, Doolittle and Logic all had two fouls in the first half, while Disterhoft missed time after falling hard on a drive to the basket.
“They can all have a bad half,” Bluder said. “Although I don’t like it, I still believe in them so much that I know they’re going to come back. At halftime they regrouped mentally and gave us some good minutes.”
Reserves stepped up for Iowa, as Kali Peschel had four points and five rebounds in nine minutes’ Claire Till had two points and three rebounds in 13 minutes; and Alexa Kastanek had two points in 11 minutes.
“That’s what’s been so nice is the development of the bench in the last few months,” Bluder said. “They’re not trying to do too much. They’re coming and playing their role, giving us good, quality minutes.”
Iowa outscored Purdue in the paint, 46-42. The Boilermakers had success in the post, but may have gone to that well one too many times late in the game. They committed two turnovers on entry passes into the post in the final four minutes of the game, both on set plays out of timeouts.
“They were trying to force the ball inside,” Bluder said. “I think we did a good job of moving our feet and making it a little bit harder of a pass. They were really trying to take advantage of Ally (Disterhoft) inside but our footwork made it little bit harder of a pass.”
Iowa’s 25 wins this season are the most under Bluder, and the most since the 1995-96 team won 27 games. No team in the Big Ten has more wins this season.Courtney Moses led Purdue with 24 points.