Taylor assures it: At least one more

NCAA women's basketball tournament: Senior scores 22, Iowa gets past Marist, 87-65

Jeff Linder
Published: March 23 2014 | 9:03 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 10:03 am in

IOWA CITY -- Theairra Taylor was determined: It wasn't going to end tonight.

"I wanted to win. I want to cut down the nets (Tuesday). That's my motivation," said the Iowa Hawkeyes' lone senior.

Taylor scored 22 points, Bethany Doolittle added 21 and Samantha Logic came within a rebound of a triple-double as 25th-ranked Iowa downed Marist, 87-65, in a first-round NCAA tournament women's basketball game in front of a crowd of 5,810 Sunday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes won their first-round game for the second straight year. And now, the degree of difficulty rises substantially.

Iowa advances to play fourth-ranked Louisville (31-4) in a second-rounder here at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Cardinals shook off a slow start and walloped Idaho, 88-42.

It's a tall task. But Taylor has that dream about twine and scissors.

"We have to keep up our defensive intensity," said Logic, who posted 11 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. "Louisville is one of the best teams in the country. I'm excited to have them on our home floor."

During Saturday's press-conference procedings, Marist Coach Brian Giorgis classified the Hawkeyes as "a better version ourselves."

Turns out, he was right.

"I have no complaints," he said, "We lost to a better team. They have three excellent 3-point shooters and a stud (Doolittle) in the middle. My hat's off to them. They shot the hell out of the ball, especially in the second half.

"It's unfortunate we had to play them on their home court. But if we'd played on Mars, Iowa would have beaten us the way they shot the ball."

Iowa shot 57 percent Sunday, including 62 percent after intermission. The Hawkeyes' 27 wins is tied for second-best in school history.

It was a back-and-forth affair early. Marist (27-7) took its largest lead at 14-11, then its final advantage at 17-16 on Emma O'Connor's 3-pointer.

Taylor's 3-pointer -- the first of her career-high five for the game -- gave Iowa the lead for good at 22-19. Then, a 10-2 run (highlighted by six more Taylor points) gave the Hawkeyes some separation at 34-25.

It was 38-30 at halftime.

The Red Foxes got as close as 47-42 early in the second half, but another Taylor trey started a slow, steady breakaway.

Taylor hit 8 of 11 shots from the field, including 5 of 8 from long distance.

Iowa had not played a game in two weeks, but was sharp on both ends of the floor.

"We had great focus, great energy," Logic said. "Sometimes that's tough to sustain. But we were definitely ready for tonight."

The Hawkeyes held Marist seven points below their season scoring average.

"We didn't shut them down," Bluder said. "But we had four days to get ready -- Marist is an offensive juggernaut. They set so many screens. We spent a lot of time getting ready for that."

Now, they have less than 48 hours to prepare for the best team they'll have faced to date this season, a team that stands between the Hawkeyes and their first Sweet Sixteen since 1996.

"The players know how long it's been," Bluder said. "It's something they'd love to accomplish."

O'Connor, Sydney Coffey and Madeline Blais scored 12 points apiece for Marist.


NCAA Tournament First Round, at Iowa City

MARIST (65): Emma O'Connor 5-9 0-0 12, Casey Dulin 4-12 1-2 10, Tori Janusz 2-3 0-0 4, Sydney Coffey 4-9 2-3 12, Leanna Ockenden 4-12 0-0 9, Eileen Van Horn 0-0 1-2 1, Natalie Gomez 1-4 0-1 2, Sydnie Rosales 0-1 0-0 0, Brittni Lai 1-1 0-0 , Madeline Blais 3-5 4-4 12, Katharine Fogarty 0-1 1-3 1. Totals 24-58 9-15 65.

IOWA (87): Ally Disterhoft 3-9 2-2 10, Bethany Doolittle 9-15 3-3 21, Melissa Dixon 4-7 1-1 12, Samantha Logic 5-7 0-2 11, Theairra Taylor 8-11 1-2 22, Alexa Kastanek 0-1 0-0 0, Claire Till 1-2 0-0 3, Kali Peschel 2-3 4-5 8, Kathryn Reynolds 0-1 0-0 0, Hailey Schneden 0-0 0-0 0, Nicole Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-56 11-15 87.

Halftime: Iowa 38, Marist 30. 3-point goals: Marist 8-30 (O'Connor 2-4, Dulin 1-7, Coffey 2-4, Ockenden 1-7, Gomez 0-3, Rosales 0-2, Blais 2-4), Iowa 12-25 (Disterhoft 2-6, Dixon 3-6, Logic 1-2, Taylor 5-8, Kastanek 0-1, Till 1-1, Reynolds 0-1). Team fouls: Marist 18, Iowa 20. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Marist 23 (Ockenden 6), Iowa 41 (Logic 9). Assists: Marist 11 (Dulin, Blais 3), Iowa 19 (Logic 10). Steals: Marist 4 (O'Connor, Coffey 2), Iowa 3 (Taylor 3). Turnovers: Marist 13, Iowa 17.

Attendance: 5,810.

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