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No. 23 Iowa Hawkeyes bank on Ally Disterhoft to conquer Skyhawks

Basketball is a game of runs, which the Hawkeyes and Skyhawks proved in their game with multiple lead changes. Both teams continued to battle, yet at the end, momentum finished in favor of Iowa.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa City, Iowa -- Lisa Bluder and her Iowa Hawkeyes battled the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday.

The Skyhawks' Katie Schubert opened up quick with a couple of three-pointers, giving them the momentum they needed against the typically sound Iowa defense.

The Hawkeyes' first team points came from two free throws by Alexa Kastanek almost ten minutes into the first period as UT Martin's defense kept Iowa's shooting percentage at a mere 25 percent.

"I thought we just missed some really good shots," said Lisa Bluder, "The nice thing is we didn't panic. We kept our composure."

With UT Martin up by eight points, freshman Tania Davis came in clutch to deliver two three-point shots, bringing the Hawkeyes within two at the end of the first period.

"It was the change we needed. Coming in off the bench, we needed that spark," said Bluder on Davis's emergence.

The second period brought out more of Iowa's scoring offense, but only gave them the lead for a little over a minute. With two minutes left in the first half it was Tania Davis who delivered a quick steal to a charging layup, tying the game at 23.

When the Skyhawks had another chance to pull the lead, Ally Disterhoft forced another turnover, , then pulled up for two points and a drawing foul. Disterhoft made her single free throw for a Hawkeye lead by three.

Disterhoft scored her 1,000th point by the end of the game, only the 34th player to reach that number in Iowa Women's Basketball history.

"Obviously it's an honor," said Disterhoft on her honor, "but I wouldn't have been able to get here without all of my amazing teammates."

Holding the lead for a short 14 seconds, it was DaiJia Ruffin who delivered a quick two for the Skyhawks, along with a foul on Iowa. After a free throw the first half ended with a tie at 26.

A true battle in the first half was backed by missed shots and technically sound defense by both teams.

The Hawkeyes' fiery offense was present finally in the opening of the first half, as Tania Davis came out with a quick two. Davis delivered once again with an assist to Kastanek for a much needed three-pointer. The score 33-29, with Iowa in the lead.

"I was just looking to come in and do my job," said Davis on her performance, "Luckily my shots fell in and my defense followed."

UT Martin's offense was persistent and consistent with keeping Iowa's lead close and dropping a few easy in-the-paint shots.

The score at the end of the third period, 47-40, Iowa's strongest lead in the game so far.

Both teams struggled in the fourth offensively, which left the score stagnant, that's until the Skyhawks brought the score closer with a three-pointer by Myah Taylor. And they scored again to bring score within two.

Iowa, looking to battle back, took the rock for seven more quick points. But It was foul trouble for the Hawkeyes, that kept the Skyhawks on the heels of the Hawkeyes, shooting seven free throws in the fourth period.

Alexa Kastanek lead the team in three-pointers with 3 of 6, keeping Iowa well in the lead toward the end of the game.

Sophomore, Chase Coley finished the game blocking the final three-point shot and giving the possession back to the Hawkeyes.

The final score of the game, Iowa 62, University of Tennessee-Martin 56.