Clutch moment becomes memorable for Hawkeye Davis
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
IOWA CITY — Iowa State played defense about as well as it could on the night’s penultimate possession.
In a game destined to be decided on a big-time shot, Iowa’s Tania Davis stepped up with a step-back 3 that neither side of this in-state rivalry will soon forget.
Davis drilled the game-winning 3 with 2.3 seconds to go and 16th-ranked Iowa held off Iowa State 73-70 on Wednesday night, giving the Hawkeyes three straight wins in the series for the first time in over two decades.
“That’s a shot she’s going to remember for the rest of her life,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
Kathleen Doyle scored 22 points in her first game back from a broken hand and Megan Gustafson had 13 with 16 rebounds for Iowa (6-2), which won 10 in a row from 1982-96.
But the Cyclones nearly pulled off the stunner down the stretch.
Iowa State star Bridget Carleton fought through traffic for a layup that gave Iowa State a 69-68 lead with 49 seconds to go, but Doyle — who didn’t even return to practice until Tuesday — swung the advantage back to Iowa with free throws 13 second later.
Carleton tied it 70-all on a free throw. But she missed a second one, giving Iowa the ball with the shot clocks turned off.
The Hawkeyes drained the seconds down, and Davis put the ball on the deck and found just enough space to drain a 3 from the wing.
“I’m trending on Twitter,” Davis joked. “So it’s a good day.”
The Hawkeyes then all converged on Carleton, leaving freshman Ashley Joens — who grew up in Iowa City — wide open for a corner 3. But Joens’ effort went long as the buzzer sounded.
Carleton had 21 points and Alexa Middleton scored 20 to lead Iowa State (6-2), which rallied after falling behind by as much as 13 in the first quarter.
“We did everything we could for as long as we could,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “I wouldn’t trade any of these guys for anything. Our time is coming.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Iowa: The Hawkeyes needed this one. They followed a close loss to Florida State with a blowout defeat at No. 1 Notre Dame, and three losses before the middle of December would’ve been tough to swallow in a season that began with such high expectations. Iowa can credit a perfect 15 of 15 night from the line as much as Davis’ shot for the win.
Iowa State: What an effort by the Cyclones, who fell out of the Top 25 this week after an ugly loss at South Dakota. Iowa State showed resolve in rallying from a 13-point deficit, and it can make the 140-mile bus ride back to Ames knowing they would have won had they not gone just 9 of 17 from the line. Joens also went just 1 of 10 in her homecoming. “The missed shots, that’s OK,” Fennelly said of Joens, a five-star recruit. “She’ll be fine. She’s going to be a great player.”
Davis, a senior, has fought through ACL tears in each knee during her career, has been healthy and productive all season with Doyle, a preseason All-Big Ten pick, on the sidelines. Davis finished with nine points and three assists, and the fact that her confidence is back was evident in her fearlessness with the game on the line. “(Tania) is a dog. She’s going to fight,” Doyle said. “She’s a tough cookie, so she deserves it.”
Iowa outrebounded Iowa State 45-37, and Gustafson broke the school record for career rebounds. She’s also just 10 points away from 2,000 for her career. …The game featured 10 lead changes and 12 ties, as the Hawkeyes and Cyclones traded 21-8 runs in the first half. …The 3 from Davis overshadowed the fact that Iowa went just 7 of 29 on 3s.
HE SAID IT
“That was great game for the sport. Great game for the state,” Fennelly said.
Iowa faces IUPUI at home on Saturday.
Iowa State hosts North Dakota on Sunday.