BIG FOUR BASKETBALL: Gustafson powers No. 25 Iowa past UNI
CEDAR FALLS — Megan Gustafson scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her nation-leading 11th double-double this season and the No. 25 Iowa women’s basketball team rolled past in-state rival Northern Iowa 71-47 on Sunday at the McLeod Center.
Gustafson was 11-of-15 from the field in posting the 38th double-double of her career. Alexis Sevillian added 11 points for the Hawkeyes, who shot 52 percent to just 29 percent for the Panthers.
Kennedy Kirkpatrick and Megan Maahs scored 12 points each to lead Northern Iowa (3-7).
Iowa led throughout but only by four, 28-24, at halftime. Gustafson scored seven points in a 13-6 run for a 16-point lead with three minutes left in the third quarter. A 12-3 surge in the fourth quarter resulted in the Hawkeyes’ largest lead of 26.
“Our team played a good second half,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “UNI was excellent in the first half, they got to us. … We regrouped at halftime and came out and played a lot better basketball and shot the ball a lot better.”
The Hawkeyes (11-1) have won four-straight and are off to their best start since going 12-1 to open the 2010-11 season. Iowa has won 11-straight over Northern Iowa and leads the series 21-2.
Both teams close out non-conference play Thursday. The Panthers, having lost five of their last six, go on the road to face Kansas State, while Iowa hosts another in-state foe Drake at 7 p.m. in Iowa City.
“It’s an important game because (a win) would wrap up the state championship, which is a goal for us,” Bluder said. “We want to get them on our home court. It’s important for us to come out and get a win against another (NCAA) tournament team. We want to wrap this non-conference season up the right way.”
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 85, DRAKE 78
DES MOINES — An overturned layup by Drake’s Sara Rhine and a subsequent technical foul on head coach Jennie Baranczyk tipped the scales toward South Dakota State, and the Jackrabbits ran with the momentum for an 85-78 non-conference win Sunday at the Knapp Center.
A 3-pointer by Brenni Rose got the Bulldogs within one, 67-66, with 6:42 left to play, and Rhine was fouled while making a layup the next time down the court. After a video review, Rhine’s basket was waved off as the call was changed to a charge, giving the ball back to the Jackrabbits.
Before play resumed, Baranczyk waved her arms in the air to coax the hometown crowd and was whistled for a technical foul. Macy Miller made both alotted free throws and SDSU never relinquished the lead again.
Alexis Alexander splashed in a 3-pointer for the Jackrabbits (9-3) to boost the lead to six, and Drake got no closer than three points for the remainder.
South Dakota State got a game-high 20 points from Miller, while Myah Selland tallied 16 points and team-highs of nine assists, seven rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot. In all, five players scored in double figures for the Jackrabbits.
Drake (5-6) could not overcome 24 turnovers despite getting 33 points from its bench players. Rose led the Bulldogs with 17 points, six assists and three blocks, while Rhine had 15 points and a team-high nine boards off the bench. Sammie Bachrodt added 10 points in the loss.
The Bulldogs led by as many as five points in the early going before falling behind by nine during the second quarter. Yet Drake outscored SDSU 24-20 in the second period to go into the intermission down two, 46-44. Another quarter in Drake’s favor made it a one-point game going into the fourth, before the Jackrabbits capitalized on a shift in momentum.
The Bulldogs close out the non-conference portion of their schedule Thursday night, visiting the No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes (11-1) for a 7 p.m. contest at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
IOWA STATE 89, UC RIVERSIDE 66
AMES — The Iowa State women’s basketball team valued the basketball and showed off its depth in defeating UC Riverside 89-66 on Sunday inside Hilton Coliseum.
Once the Cyclones (5-5) overtook Riverside early in the first quarter, they led the rest of the way in winning back-to-back games for the first time in nearly a month. Iowa State led 43-32 at the half and poured it on until the final horn.
The Highlanders (3-8) played the second half without leading scorer Michelle Curry, who started the game with an injury before succumbing to it by halftime. She played just 12 minutes and finished with only three points.
Iowa State got a game-high 19 points from Madison Wise, who shot 7-for-10 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers to set her new career scoring mark. Bride Kennedy-Hopoate added a career-high 15 points off the bench, Rae Johnson had 14 points, nine assists and five steals in a reserve role, and Bridget Carleton tallied a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Cyclones.
Iowa State got 44 points from its bench.
Jannon Otto led Riverside with 16 points but had six of the Highlanders’ 19 turnovers.
The Cyclones turned Riverside’s miscues into 20 points while only committing 10 turnovers themselves. The Highlanders also had 16 offensive rebounds but managed just 10 second-chance points, shooting 37.5 percent from the field in the loss.
Iowa State plays one last non-conference game at home Thursday, entertaining Nicholls State at 1 p.m. The Cyclones open Big 12 Conference play on Dec. 28 at home against Kansas.