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The Iowa women's basketball team opened the Big Ten campaign in disappointing fashion, falling to Illinois, 70-65, on Wednesday in Champaign, Ill.
The Hawkeyes (9-5, 0-1 Big Ten) trailed for most of the first half. The Fighting Illini grabbed a 23-17 lead after the first quarter and held off an Iowa rally in the second to hold a five-point lead at the half, 37-32.
Iowa fought back in the third quarter, knotting things up on a Christina Buttenham 3-pointer right before the horn to make it 50-50 with 10 minutes to play.
However, Illinois (6-8, 1-0) pulled away in the fourth quarter. After Ally Disterhoft gave the Hawkeyes a three-point lead with 3:13 left in the game, the Illini scored five straight points capped by Petra Holesinska's trey to take a lead they did not relinquish.
Sophomore Megan Gustafson registered a double-double (21 points, 13 rebounds) for the eighth time this season to lead Iowa. Disterhoft also recorded a double-double (11 points, 12 boards), while Buttenham netted a career-high four 3-pointers for 12 points. Kathleen Doyle tied her career-high with six assists while chipping in 12 points in the loss.
Holesinka hit 4 of 5 3-pointers and led the Illini with 16 points while Brandi Beasley had 14 points and eight rebounds. Iowa City High grad Courtney Joens played 14 minutes for Illinois and did not score.
The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, hosting Nebraska at 2 p.m.