Morgan Johnson and Jamie Printy scored 18 points apiece to help Iowa defeat Northwestern 60-55 on Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten women's tournament at the Sears Centre.
"Very happy to come in here and get this win," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "Puts us at 20 wins for the year. And I thought we did another good job defensively.
The Hawkeyes now advance to meet No. 21 Nebraska in Friday's quarterfinals.
For Northwestern, coach Joe McKeown paid a postgame tribute to four seniors: Dannielle Diamant, Kendall Hackney, Inesha Hale and Kate Popovec.
"I'm just really proud of them," McKeown said. "They're the winningest class at Northwestern, I think, since the early '90s. And came to a program that had averaged two or three wins a year, and they've averaged 16 or 17 wins a year in their careers.
"Their blood is all over Welsh Ryan Arena and the Sears Centre too."
Bethany Doolittle added 10 points and Samantha Logic grabbed 11 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (20-11).
Iowa never trailed in the game. It was 30-26 at halftime and the Hawkeyes led 57-42 with 3 minutes to go before the Wildcats battled back to make it close.
Hackney led Northwestern (13-17) with 13 points and 4 steals. Karly Roser scored 11 points, Alex Cohen scored 10 and Diamant had a game-high 13 rebounds.