IOWA CITY, Iowa — Last season the University of Iowa women’s basketball team was 12th among all NCAA Division I teams with a 77.3 free throw percentage.
“We want to get the free throw line a lot, that’s part of what we’re trying to do,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.
The Hawkeyes made 31 of 40 free throws in Thursday’s season-opening 85-53 win against Florida Atlantic in front of 3,334 on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa remains undefeated in 20 season openers under Bluder; it is the 22nd consecutive home win for the Hawkeyes.
“Our offense is designed to get us to the free throw line a lot and we got there a lot,” Bluder said. “When you shoot 40 free throws, you’re drawing a ton of fouls, but that’s not unusual with this offense.”
Iowa (1-0) closed the first quarter on a 10-0 run and added an 8-2 spurt before halftime to take a 38-29 lead.
Senior Kathleen Doyle scored a game-high 15 points, leading five Hawkeyes in double figures. Sophomore Monika Czinano scored 14, junior Alexis Sevillian had 12, freshman Gabbie Marshall added 11, and freshman McKenna Warnock posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Marshall scored eight points during the Hawkeyes’ 28-point fourth quarter.
“There are nerves that come with the first college game,” Marshall said. “After getting those two (early) fouls, my teammates encouraged me and kept me calm. I came back in the second half and finished strong.”
Iowa shot well from the line and from distance (8 of 22), outscoring the Owls 22-1 on fast break points and 31-11 off the bench.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“It’s always good to have that first game and kind of have that in your back pocket now. We don’t play for a week, so that’s a lot of time for us to work on things and get better.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa’s four freshmen, playing their first collegiate game, combined for 28 points and 14 rebounds. They were 8 of 9 from the line and 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
Doyle made two free throws with 2:35 left in the first quarter to give her 1,000 career points. She added eight more points and finished with a game-high 15.
“It is cool, but a lot of that is due to my teammates,” Doyle said.
Iowa remains home Nov. 14 against North Alabama with a 6:30 p.m. (CT) tip. The Lions defeated Virginia-Lynchburg, 128-26, on Thursday and host Mississippi Valley State on Saturday.