By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team closed a 3-0 week by closing the first half on a 13-2 run and the game with a 16-2 spurt to defeat Robert Morris, 81-60, in front of 3,378 on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes improved to 8-3 on the season after also beating Northern Iowa, 88-39, on Sunday and Iowa State, 88-76, on Wednesday. Robert Morris fell to 4-6.
“I was worried about this game,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I felt it was a little bit of a trap game, the emotions and the highs of beating UNI and Iowa State, and then coming out and having to prepare and play in one day. I thought our team did a good job with that.”
Ten Hawkeyes played nine-or-more minutes and four scored in double figures, led by Megan Gustafson with 15 points (7-of-11 field goals) and nine rebounds. Ally Disterhoft and Tania Davis scored 14 points apiece and Kathleen Doyle added 11. Hannah Stewart and Makenzie Meyer scored eight points.
“I love the balanced scoring and I hope it’s something that we’re known for,” Bluder said. “We proved the other night that you can focus on (Disterhoft and Gustafson), but somebody else is going to step up.”
Doyle scored all of her points in the fourth quarter, making 5-of-8 field goals with two steals. Stewart was 4-of-4 from the field with a career-high eight rebounds.
“Kathleen Doyle really brought it in the fourth quarter, both offensively and defensively,” Bluder said. “She brought energy and gave us life there.
“(Stewart) just takes what’s there and that is great. That’s why she’s 4-for-4 shooting. I’m glad to see her minutes (13). She’s doing a good job backing up Megan.”
Iowa enjoyed a huge advantage in rebounding (44-27), second-chance points (15-2), and free throw attempts (28-15). Davis was 7-of-7 from the line, career highs in attempts and free throws made.
The Hawkeyes combined to shoot 61.5 percent from the field in the first and fourth quarters (16-of-26). They finished the game making 47.5 percent (28-of-59) from the field and 71.4 percent from the line (20-of-28). It is the third straight game Iowa has made at least 71 percent of its free throws. The Hawkeyes also committed a season-low 12 turnovers.
“We took care of the ball and that was nice to see,” Bluder said.
Robert Morris was led by Anna Niki Stamolamprou with 16 points.
Iowa will enjoy its longest break of the season — nine days — before playing at Drake on Dec. 18 to conclude the intrastate series. Since losing to Iowa State on Nov. 20, the Bulldogs (5-3) have won four of their last five games, including an 84-70 win at Nebraska on Dec. 6.
“When you go in as a winner into finals week, it makes a big difference on your attitude, energy, and pep in your step,” Bluder said. “I’m glad for them academically that we went into finals week 3-0. But it certainly is nice to sit on a little nine-day break being 3-0.”