IOWA CITY - The Iowa women's basketball team had little trouble winning its fourth straight game Wednesday in front of a small crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
While the state of Iowa prepares for a potential blizzard, the Hawkeyes were dominating the paint, forcing 22 turnovers and drilling 10 3-pointers in a 97-43 win over Missouri State.
"We had 25 assists again tonight, so once again, we've passed the ball extremely well," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "I'm just happy with the way that we've played. When you get a significant lead at halftime, it's kind of easy to let down, but we kept our intensity high, and I was very, very happy with our defensive effort to begin both halves."
Five Hawkeyes reached double figures, led by freshman Kathy Thomas' 15 off the bench, as Iowa improved to 9-3 on the season. Melissa Dixon had 12 points and Kayla Timmerman finished with six points and eight boards to give Iowa's bench 43 points.
Three starters also scored in double-figures with sophomore Bethany Doolittle collecting a double-double by halftime.
"Missouri State came in here averaging 75 points a game, and for us to hold them to 43 points is significant," Bluder said. "The damage that we did on the boards - they're a plus-seven rebounding team coming in here and we really took it at them at the boards."
It would have been easy for the Hawkeyes to coast through the game as the holiday break nears. Bluder said the Hawkeyes maintained focus against a Missouri State team which only lost to nationally ranked Oklahoma State by three points.
"We just talked a lot about how we had to keep the focus," Bluder said. "This is a good team. This is a team that only lost by three points to No. 22 Oklahoma State.
"So I think by having a really good opponent really opened our eyes and made us focus."
The Hawkeyes opened up an eight-point advantage with a 14-0 run in the first half and then finished the first frame with seven straight points and led 46-20 at the break. Iowa continued to pull away in the second half to finish off the wire-to-wire victory.
The Hawkeye defense held the Bears to just 20 percent shooting from the field and the Bears made just 1-of-18 from 3-point range and 18-of-31 from the free throw line.
Seniors Jaime Printy and Morgan Johnson both had 13 points for Iowa, which shot 48 percent from the floor and made 10-of-34 from long range. Printy also finished with six assists, Johnson grabbed four boards and Doolittle ended up with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The domination inside the lane included 32 paint points and 17 second-chance points. Iowa also scored 28 points off Missouri State's 22 turnovers.
Junior Theairra Taylor did not reach double-digits but contributed nine points, six rebounds and seven assists in the win.
Missouri State (6-4) was led by Hannah Wilkerson's 10 points. No other Bear finished in double-figures.
Iowa will next play Dec. 28 at the Maggie Dixon Surf N' Slam Classic in San Diego, Calif. The Hawkeyes will face No. 20 Texas with tip-off scheduled for 10 p.m. Iowa also will play on Dec. 30 against either Central Michigan or host San Diego.