INDIANAPOLIS – Bethany Doolittle scored a career-high 26 points, hitting 10 of 14 shots, as fifth-seeded and 23rd-ranked Iowa defeated Illinois 81-62 in the first round of the Big 10 tournament on Thursday.
Melissa Dixon added 15 points and Ally Disterhoft 14 with 12 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (24-7), who face No. 17 Purdue (21-7), the fourth seed, in the quarterfinals Friday.
Amber Moore had 26 points for the Illini (9-21), who have lost 11 straight. Ivory Crawford had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Iowa opened the game with an 11-2 run and after Illinois regrouped to take a 27-26 lead, the Hawkeyes closed the half with a 15-2 surge for a 41-29 lead.
Iowa shot 54 percent from the field, made 21 of 26 free throws and had a 45-31 rebounding edge to offset 24 turnovers. The Illini shot just 32 percent and got to the line 14 times, making 10.