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Melissa Dixon helps Iowa women past Marist in NCAAs

Published: Sunday, March 23, 2014 9:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, March 23, 2014 10:53 p.m. CDT
Caption
Iowa guard Samantha Logic passes as jumps between Marist defenders Sydney Coffey (left) and Leanne Ockenden, during the first half of an NCAA tournament first-round game, Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Theairra Taylor scored 22 points, Bethany Doolittle added 21 and Iowa blew out Marist 87-65 on Sunday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Melissa Dixon of Johnsburg added 12 points for the Hawkeyes, all in the second half, and all five Iowa starters scored in double figures.

Samantha Logic had 11 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the sixth-seeded Hawkeyes (27-8), who will face third-seeded Louisville on Tuesday for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.

Iowa took control late in the first half and relied on strong shooting to advance to the second round for the second year in a row. The Hawkeyes shot 57 percent from the field and 12 of 25 from 3-point range

Emma O'Connor, Sydney Coffey and Madeline Blais each had 12 to lead the 11th-seeded Red Foxes (27-7), who were outscored 49-35 in the second half.

Marist drew its best seed since 2011 and was looking to upend a high major with a higher seed for the second time in three years.

But the Red Foxes simply had no answer for Iowa's scalding outside shooting.

Taylor and Ally Disterhoft buried back-to-back 3s to put the Hawkeyes ahead 53-44, and Doolittle's jumper gave Iowa a 13-point lead with just over 10 minutes left.

Disterhoft then hit a 3 from the corner without a Marist defender in sight with 6:55 left, making it 67-51 and perfectly encapsulating Iowa's perimeter dominance.

What made the Marist-Iowa matchup such an intriguing one was that each team boasted eerily similar offensive profiles.

Each starter for the Red Foxes averaged between 10.9 and 13.6 points per game, while the Hawkeyes had five starters with at least 12 points a game.

That led Marist coach Brian Giorgis to view the Hawkeyes as a "better version" of the Red Foxes because he thought Iowa was a little bigger, a little more physical and from a stronger league, the Big Ten.

The Hawkeyes certainly looked the part in their gleaming home whites – while the red in more than a few of Marist's road jerseys bled into the once-white, screen printed numbers during a recent wash.

But the biggest problem the Red Foxes had in the first half wasn't laundry. It was Logic, Taylor and Doolittle, each of whom had 11 points in 20 minutes.

Still, Marist entered the second half down just 38-30. The Red Foxes later got within 47-42 before Taylor drilled a 3 from the elbow, and it wasn't long before Iowa overwhelmed Marist.

Iowa's starters wound up outscoring the Red Foxes starting five, 76-47.

The Hawkeyes will be underdogs against Louisville, which drilled Idaho, 88-42, in the opener. But Iowa has won seven of its last eight games, and its 27 overall wins are the most for the program since 1996.

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