IOWA CITY — During the team shootaround before Iowa's opening game of the WNIT, Davenport Assumption grad and Hawkeye senior Hailey Schneden went up to Ally Disterhoft and delivered a message.
"She said, 'Ally, just don't put too much pressure on yourself,'" Disterhoft said. "I think I just needed to hear that from her. To go out there, obviously play aggressive, take the shots when they were there but continue to play team basketball."
Disterhoft stayed true to the message and in the process became the program's all-time leading scorer, passing Cindy Haugejorde with 2,061 points. She has at least another game to build on that total as Iowa beat Missouri State 95-74 Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes will host South Dakota in the second round Saturday at 3 p.m.
Disterhoft, who finished with 21 points, set the mark with four minutes, six seconds left in the fourth quarter. In a game Iowa never trailed, the senior drove the lane, put up a layup and drew the foul.
As she was down on the court, the ball went through the hoop, and Disterhoft’s place in Iowa history was made. There was a brief stoppage in play as the announcement was made and the senior received a standing ovation from the 3,226 fans in attendance.
Disterhoft missed the free throw.
"It's hard not to get emotional because I've had so many people support me along the way," Disterhoft said. "My coaches have been incredible, my teammates, my family. So, relief, but happy with that."
The Iowa City West grad tied the mark set by Haugejorde in 1980 with 9:36 left in the game, and even though Iowa (18-13) was leading 72-51, she asked to be kept in and given a chance to break the mark.
It took her a little longer than expected, as she missed a 3 and a pair of layups, much to the chagrin of the fans.
"I knew it, because I would miss and they would go, 'Oh' and I was like, 'Sorry guys, we'll get the next one, I promise,'" Disterhoft said. "But the crowd, our fan support in my four years here has been incredible. There's nothing like being an Iowa Hawkeye, running out of that tunnel, hearing the fans cheering you on."
Disterhoft was a force inside all game, attacking the rim early and drawing some quick fouls. By halftime she had 13 points and Iowa led 43-30.
"Quite fitting I thought that she tied it on a layup and then got the record off of a driving drive as well," head coach Lisa Bluder said. "Just really, really proud of her. To come in here and to accomplish something like that is amazing. Really happy that I got to be a part of it."
Somewhat lost in Disterhoft’s mark was another record set by sophomore Megan Gustafson. Gustafson finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, setting the school’s single-season mark for rebounds with 307, passing Amy Herrig's mark set in 1999.
"I love rebounding, that's something that I'm kind of meant to do here," Gustafson said. "I kind of think of it as whenever I get a rebound it's not my rebound, it's Iowa's rebound."
Though Disterhoft took the spotlight at the end, the Hawkeyes put together a team win. Iowa had five players score in double figures and finished with 23 assists. Iowa also dominated the Lady Bears (16-15) inside, outscoring Missouri State 50-28 in the paint. The Hawkeyes' unselfish play stood out to Missouri State coach Kellie Harper, particularly in regards to Disterhoft.
"In the first half, there was a fast break opportunity, I thought she should have gotten to the basket, and she dished. I'm thinking, 'This kid's going to try and break a record and she's passing the ball," Harper said. "So I've always had a lot of respect for her game."
Iowa now has to prepare to face South Dakota, who won the WNIT last year. After having two weeks off from their Big Ten Tournament loss to Northwestern to Thursday night's win, the Hawkeyes now have less than 48 hours to prepare for their next opponent.
"We're ready to go," Gustafson said.