CANCUN, Mexico - The Iowa women's basketball team never trailed and led by as many as 18 points in the second half of a 78-65 win over Southern California in the Hawkeyes' opener of the Cancun Challenge on Thursday night at the Hard Rock Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Samantha Logic finished with 22 points and Melissa Dixon added 18 as the Hawkeyes improved to 6-1 on the season.
"This win should give us some confidence," said Logic. "Everyone played well today and that is what we needed and what we need for the next two."
The Hawkeyes will play two more games in Cancun. Next up is Boston College (3-2) today at 5 p.m.
The Eagles opened the tournament with a 75-54 win against UNC-Wilmington.
"This was the most important game for us and now Boston College tomorrow is our most important game," said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. "We did a good job of clock management at the end of the game. We lost our composure a little bit but got it back. That is a nice skill to have at this point in the season."
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 9-1 lead after a jumper by Bethany Doolittle and then Theairra Taylor's layup with 13:38 to play gave Iowa a 24-11 advantage.
USC (3-2) rallied to trim the Iowa lead to three after a 3-pointer by Courtney Jaco with 6:47 to go until halftime, but the Hawkeyes outscored the Women of Troy 9-2 the rest of the way and led 45-35 at intermission. The run was sparked by two free throws and a layup from Logic and a trey from Dixon.
"Basketball is a game of runs," said Logic, who also had a team-high seven assists. "We just had to withstand them. This is a great team we beat today. We had to keep our composure and we did that."
Iowa never trailed by less than eight in the second half. The 18-point margin came when Logic buried a 3 with 11:09 to go in the game.
The Hawkeyes finished with 15 turnovers but made just five miscues in the first half.
They shot 43 percent from the floor, were 9-of-22 from long range and hit 17-of-20 from the free throw line.
"We shot the ball better tonight," Bluder said. "We got to the line and made them pay. It was nice to see Melissa Dixon get going."
Taylor also scored in double figures for the Hawkeyes as she had 11 points and four rebounds.
Ally Disterhoft added eight points and a team-best seven rebounds off the bench, while Doolittle and Kali Peschel, who celebrated a birthday, both had six points and six boards.
USC connected on just three shots from 3-point range and took just 10 free throws.
Leading the way for USC was Brianna Barrett, who scored 15 points off the bench, while Cassie Harberts added 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.