Lucas too tough for Hawkeyes to handle

IOWA CITY – Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder was candid during the open statements of her postgame press conference after No. 15 Penn State easily dispatched her No. 22 Hawkeyes, 87-71, on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We got beat by a very good team today,” Bluder said. “I want to congratulate Penn State. I thought they played very well. They are big, they are strong, they are fast, and probably better than us in all those areas.”

Maggie Lucas led five Penn State players in double-figures with 27 points, while Dara Taylor had 17 and Talia East recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The taller Nittany Lions (10-3, 1-0) outrebounded Iowa 50-34 and had a 16-1 second-chance point advantage. Tori Waldner had eight rebounds and 10 points, while Ariel Edwards finished with 11 points in the win.

“When you’re that big and strong, it’s hard to box them out,” Bluder said. “It’s hard to keep them off the glass. In the first half we got some over-the-back calls because we had good position and we kind of got away from that.”

Iowa (12-4, 0-2) was led by Melissa Dixon’s 22 points and Sam Logic added 13 points and 12 assists, but the Hawkeyes never led and turned it over 18 times on their home floor. The bench also continues to struggle as the Hawkeye reserves accounted for just nine points, eight of which came from freshman Ally Disterhoft.

Theairra Taylor had 10 points, Kali Peschel scored nine and Bethany Doolittle ended up with just eight as the 6-foot-4 junior center took just six shots and grabbed only four boards.

The Hawkeyes were outscored by eight in each half. They were within six with 3:20 to play in the first half.

Iowa got to within two a few times in the second half and even trailed by one with just less than 16 minutes to play but couldn’t get over the hump. Penn State took back momentum for good with a 7-0 run that put the Nittany Lions up nine.

Logic buried a 3 that cut Iowa’s deficit to three but a 12-4 run by Penn State extended the lead to 12 with around 5 to play. The advantage was never less than nine the rest of the way.

“We got within three with nine minutes to go in this game, and they took it at us after that,” Bluder said. “We got close, and then boom, they would have this little run and we’d try to close it in. The last few minutes, I think we just didn’t have a whole lot left in us.”

Iowa will look to get back on track at 7 p.m. Wednesday when the Hawkeyes welcome Minnesota to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They travel to Wisconsin on Sunday. Tip off for that one is set for noon.