Taylor helps Hawkeyes survive OSU in overtime

IOWA CITY – Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said she has been waiting for everybody to see why she is so excited about Theairra Taylor.

Ohio State sure got a good look.

Taylor scored Iowa’s first six points in overtime, helping the Hawkeyes regain the lead they lost at the end of regulation in picking up a 77-71 victory over the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Conference opener Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Taylor finished with a career-high 19 points to lead Iowa (12-3, 1-0), which saw OSU’s one-woman show Tayler Hill bring the Buckeyes (10-4, 0-1) back from a 13-point deficit in the second half.

Hill notched a career-best 34 points, nine of which came in the final 8:03 minutes of regulation. Ohio State trailed 55-42 after a Taylor jumper with 9:55 left, but Hill and Darryce Moore combined to score 17 points as the Buckeyes closed with a 21-8 run.

OSU actually went in front, 63-61, with 23 seconds left before Iowa’s Morgan Johnson made a pair of free throws to tie it. Hill, Moore and Ashley Adams each got a shot off inside the final 8 seconds but the potential game-winner never dropped.

The host Hawkeyes then turned to Taylor to get the lead back, and Samantha Logic sealed the team’s seventh consecutive victory with 4-for-4 free-throw shooting in the last 37 seconds of overtime.

“I didn’t want to lose,” Taylor said. “Everyone was playing great and everyone was taking their shots. I needed to step up a little bit so I figured this was a time to do it. Coach was calling the right plays and it ended up working out.”

Taylor made all six of her field-goal attempts and both free throws after halftime. Her career-high night was a part of a balanced Iowa attack. Logic finished with 17 points and eight assists, Johnson had a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Jaime Printy put up 14 points as well.

“I think in overtime we were not going to be denied,” said Bluder. “Theairra played outstanding, got to the rim, made her free throws, did a super job for us. It was fun.

“I’ve been waiting for everybody to have the opportunity to watch Theairra Taylor play like she did tonight.”

It proved to be enough to offset the monster night for Hill, who shot 11-for-25 from the field, 4-for-11 from 3-point range, and 8-for-8 at the line. Hill also had five steals, five rebounds, two blocked shots against seven turnovers.

Moore, Ameryst Alston and Raven Ferguson chipped in nine points apiece for the Buckeyes, who had a four-game win streak stopped. Ohio State is ranked 24th by the USA Today Coaches Poll but unranked by The Associated Press.

Iowa attempted a season-low four 3-pointers, making two of them, and outrebounded the Buckeyes 39-33. Bethany Doolittle chipped in eight points, five rebounds, three steals and six blocked shots to match her career high.

“Just starting out the Big Ten with some momentum, that’s really good for us,” said Bluder. “We have the opportunity to build on it with another home game Sunday.”

The Hawkeyes host Michigan at noon Sunday. The Wolverines (12-2, 1-0) have also won seven straight games and, like Iowa, are among those teams receiving votes outside the Top 25.