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February 17, 2013

Slipping away

Iowa dominated Purdue in the paint Sunday evening. And it did so not so much with its posts, but with its guards.

The Hawkeyes scored 36 in the paint, including a streak of 13 consecutive field goals inside, to blow out the Boilermakers 72-52 in Mackey Arena. The loss marked the worst conference defeat since 2005 when Purdue lost by the same margin to Minnesota. It was also Iowa's first win in Mackey Arena since 1998, ending a streak of 12 straight loses.

Iowa point guard Samantha Logic, who averages eight, scored a career-high 26 points, hitting all but three of her 13 field goal attempts. She also had nine rebounds as Iowa (17-10 overall, 6-7 in the Big Ten) broke a five-game losing skid and swept the season series vs. Purdue.

"We just didn't do a good job following the game plan," KK Houser said, "and we couldn't keep Logic out of the paint; she did a good job going to the basket."

The Hawkeyes took over by going inside. After a three-pointer by Theairra Taylor at the 4:54 mark of the first half, which put the visitors up 24-20, Iowa scored its next 13 field goals, including the first nine of the second, inside the paint. Only Melissa Dixon's triple at 7:07 of the second broke the string, with the Hawkeyes up 57-46.

"Today was bad," said Coach Sharon Versyp, whose team has won only one of its last four, with a victory at Wisconsin Thursday. "Wisconsin did the same thing and we were fine. But Iowa kept backing us down."

No. 18 Purdue (19-6, 8-4) trailed by only five at the break, but couldn't mount much of a charge after intermission. Drey Mingo scored five straight points midway through the second to close the margin to six after Iowa had stretched the lead to 11. But a backcourt turnover by Courtney Moses, who was held scoreless, led to an easy two by Logic.

Sam Ostarello, who led Purdue with 15 points and 11 rebounds, scored on a putback to again get the Boilers within six moments later. But a couple of deft interior Hawkeye passes led to a wide-open layup by Taylor, then Dixon followed with her triple. Purdue never again had the margin to single digits.

Despite Iowa leading scorer Jaime Printy being held to only five points, on 1-of-8 shooting, the Hawkeyes shot 50 percent from the field with only eight turnovers. Logan and Taylor, who combine to average 16 points, totaled 41 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists.

"Our defense just was not good today," Houser said.

The offense wasn't very efficient either. For the fourth time in the last five games, Purdue failed to reach 60 points. The Boilers shot only 32 percent from the field - and had 15 turnovers - with trio of starting guards Houser, Moses and Dee Dee Williams combining to shoot 4-of-26, including 3-of-14 from three-point range.

"We really need to prove ourselves offensively against a zone," said Mingo, who had 14 points. "We need to be better offensively. We need to understand better what we're looking for in certain sets."

Moses, who scored only two points on three field goals vs. Wisconsin, missed all seven of her field goal attempts against the Hawkeyes. She looked hesitant on a wide-open three-pointer late, when Purdue was scrambling to try to rally.

"Courtney has to get some confidence back," Versyp said. "She hasn't scored for us for the last four games and she's got to score for us. She's our best shooter, our best scorer and she has to get out of her funk soon."

Purdue had 21 offensive boards, and the same in second-chance points. But it helped little in jump-starting the offense, particularly considering Iowa was getting so many easy looks at the other end. The Hawkeyes had 10 fast-break points; Purdue had none.

"When they get a rebound, you're supposed to go back and sprint to the paint and then find," Versyp said. "And for some reason we were picking the ball up in the backcourt. I really can't explain it."

Purdue has plenty of searching to do and its got only four regular-season games left, starting at Indiana Wednesday.

"We'll find out (then)," Versyp said, when asked how Purdue will respond. "It's not how you fall, but how you get yourself back up. Are we disappointed? Yeah, but do you want to lose our next four and miss the NCAA? Or are we going to do something about it and win the games we need to?"

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