Gustafson helps Iowa close with 7th-straight

IOWA CITY — Megan Gustafson continues to chart new territory and the Hawkeyes keep rolling, too.

The University of Iowa women’s basketball team swarmed Indiana and ran away with its seventh-straight victory to close the regular season, a 75-62 triumph on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes (23-6, 11-5) outscored the visiting Hoosiers 20-8 in the opening quarter, expanded their lead to 18 at halftime and held off Indiana the rest of the way. Iowa’s deficit never dwindled below double-digits after halftime and Indiana’s eight-game win streak was snapped convincingly.

“It was huge setting the defensive tone right off the bat, taking control of the game and putting doubt in [Indiana’s] mind,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder. “Those are all things that are important if you establish yourself in that first quarter.

“This was another great Iowa game. We came out and had a good first quarter. We talked about coming out and establishing ourselves and we have done that all of February.”

The Hawkeyes — 7-0 in the month of February — were led again by Gustafson, who scored her team’s first eight points and had a double-double by halftime. She finished with game-highs of 36 points and 15 rebounds for her 26th double-double of the season and 53rd of her career.

Iowa’s junior post shot 15-for-21 from the field and 6-of-9 at the free-throw line, becoming the first player in school history to eclipse 700 points in a season.

“Well, No. 10 (Gustafson) had a great game, like she always does, there is no doubt about that,” said Bluder. “If she doesn’t get everybody’s all-Big Ten award, I don’t understand what people are looking at.”

Gustafson’s great game was complemented by a trio of double-digit scorers, as Makenzie Meyer finished with 13 points, Chase Cley added 12 and Hannah Stewart had 10. Kathleen Doyle tallied six assists to lead Iowa and Coley had five more.

Amanda Cahill had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead Indiana (16-13, 9-7), which entered the weekend as the only team aside from Iowa to have won more than three-straight games.

“February has been a great month for us,” said Gustafson. “Everyone in the Big Ten has a really good team. It doesn’t matter if it’s Maryland or Illinois, everyone is going to give us their best shot. We had a lot of close games and we battled and finished, so I’m proud of this team that we were able to have a great February.

“It gives us a lot of momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament.”

Iowa awaits today’s final four regular-season conference games for seeding purposes for the Big Ten Tournament, which runs Feb. 28-March 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Hawkeyes currently sit fourth behind Ohio State (12-3), Maryland (11-4) and Nebraska (11-4) but ahead of Minnesota (10-5), all of which play today.

A top-four finish means two rounds off, while a fifth-place finish would equal a first-round bye for the Hawkeyes.


At Iowa City

INDIANA (16-13) — Cahill 5-14 0-0 14, Royster 0-5 0-0 0, Buss 4-15 1-2 12, Penn 3-12 4-4 13, Yeaney 3-10 2-4 10, Wickware 0-1 0-0 0, Marchese 2-3 0-0 4, Warthen 4-4 0-4 9. TOTALS 21-64 7-14 62.

IOWA (23-6) — Coley 4-10 4-4 12, Ollinger 0-2 0-0 0, Gustafson 15-21 6-9 36, Doyle 2-5 0-0 4, Meyer 3-6 5-5 13, Mohns 0-1 0-0 0, Stewart 5-10 0-0 10, Sanders 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 29-55 15-18 75.

Indiana 8 16 12 26 — 62

Iowa 20 22 11 22 — 75

3-Point Goals–Indiana 13-26 (Cahill 4-8, Buss 3-8, Penn 3-6, Yeaney 2-3, Warthen 1-1), Iowa 2-6 (Ollinger 0-1, Doyle 0-1, Meyer 2-4). Assists–Indiana 13 (Buss 7), Iowa 21 (Doyle 6). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Indiana 31 (Cahill 8), Iowa 43 (Gustafson 15). Total Fouls–Indiana 18, Iowa 11. A–6,921.