116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY – This is the statement win Iowa needed. Now the Hawkeye women's basketball team can't let up.
Iowa allowed only one field in the final 11 minutes to knock off No. 13 Purdue 59-42 on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It's the first Big Ten loss for the Boilermakers.
For the Hawkeyes, trying for their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, this could be the catalyst for a late-season run they need. Iowa's next three games are against second-tier conference teams, but two are on the road.
“We definitely have to keep the nose to the grindstone,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “We'll remind them. This felt good. Let's remember this feeling. Then we have to be ready.”
Kamille Wahlin scored all 13 of her points in the second half as the Hawkeyes (12-10, 4-5 Big Ten) snapped Purdue's 11-game winning streak.
Brittany Rayburn hit a 3-pointer to bring Purdue (18-4, 8-1) within 40-37 with 11 minutes left, but the Hawkeyes answered with a 16-2 run over an 8-minute stretch to pull away.
Wahlin – who hit three 3-pointers in the second half, including two in the first three minutes – made a big pull-up jumper as the shot clock expired towards the end of that run. The basket gave Iowa a 54-38 lead with less than four minutes left.
“We needed it,” Wahlin said. “I think we'll feed off it going into our next game. It's almost a relief that we have a feeling of a good win.”
Center Morgan Johnson led Iowa with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hawkeyes, who were picked to finish third in the Big Ten in November, had dropped four of their last five games. Iowa was 0-6 against ranked opponents before Saturday.
“We finally got one,” Bluder said. “You get to so many games where it's could've, should've and almost, and it wears on you. Sometimes that can defeat teams. I guess I'm proud of my team because that didn't defeat them.”
Bluder was quick to point out that her team won with three unlikely areas – bench, rebounds and defense.
Iowa's bench – which was outscored 22-0 in Iowa's 57-55 loss on Jan. 15 in West Lafayette – scored 16 points. Virginia Johnson and Theairra Taylor each scored six points, helping the Hawkeyes gain control at the end of the first half.
The Hawkeyes out-rebounded Purdue 54-18.
Iowa's defense forced the Boilermakers to shoot only 23 percent from the field, including 2 of 12 from 3-point range.
“Iowa is a lot better than their record,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. “They obviously really needed to win today for a lot of different reasons.”