By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Buck Night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena was worth every penny.
More than 4,000 attended Wednesday’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge women’s basketball game between Iowa and No. 13 Florida State. Thanks to a promotion by the University of Iowa marketing department, many of the adult fans were admitted for a dollar.
What they witnessed on Mediacom Court was worth $1 and much, much more.
Florida State erased a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit and remained undefeated at 7-0 with a 94-93 victory, handing the Hawkeyes (7-1) their first loss of the season.
Iowa shot 61 percent from the field for the game after opening with 14 made field goals in 15 attempts in the first quarter. At one point, the Hawkeyes made 15 consecutive field goals.
“I hope they feel they gained confidence,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We led the No. 13 team for almost 31 minutes. I hope they gain confidence that they can play with anybody in the country. Florida State has five senior starters. They’re an experienced team and we played them to the end.
“I’m proud of my team for keeping in the moment. There’s a lot we can gain from this game.”
Junior center Megan Gustafson scored 34 points (15 of 18 field goals) with nine rebounds in 37 minutes. Four other Hawkeyes scored in double figures: Tania Davis (14), Alexis Sevillian (14), Kathleen Doyle (13), and Chase Coley (10).
“We did a good job being confident in ourselves and teammates,” Gustafson said. “I had great passes into me and we were able to finish inside. When the defense collapsed, we were able to hit our guards.”
Doyle was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field and 4 of 4 from the line.
Iowa handed out 28 assists with Doyle and Makenzie Meyer leading the way with six apiece. Coley and Davis both had five.
Florida State was the beneficiary of 21 turnovers, turning those into 26 points.
Florida State was led by Shakayla Thomas with 31 points and 10 rebounds and Imani Wright with 26 points and seven 3-point field goals.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“I’m really proud of my team. I thought they battled every second out there. I wish we could have given them the win, I think they deserved it. The fans saw a very exciting, fun game. I think they got their dollars’ worth, so hopefully they will come back.”
STATISTICS OF THE GAME
While the team rebounding totals were nearly even (38 for Florida State, 36 for Iowa), the Seminoles corralled 19 offensive boards. They also attempted 83 field goals, 24 more than Iowa.
Florida State entered the game leading the nation at plus-21.7 in rebounding margin; the Seminoles average more than 17 offensive rebounds a game.
Gustafson tied the game at 86 after making two free throws with 48 seconds remaining. Florida State came down and Wright swished a 3-pointer 13 seconds later and the Seminoles did not give up the lead.
“I went to the zone, so I’ll take full responsibility for that,” Bluder said. “I was trying to provide a little help because I felt like (Thomas) was killing us inside and trying to provide a little bit of help from that. But that was a pretty big dagger.”
QUOTING THE SENIOR
“As soon as we got in the locker room I told the girls this was a fun game, these are the games we want to play,” Coley said. “Even though we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, these are the games we want to play because it makes us better. We see what we need to work on and I’m proud of them. We worked hard and I would rather play games like that then play cupcake teams. No one should hang their heads about this game.”
The Hawkeyes remain home Dec. 3 to play Samford (2-4). The teams share Florida State as a common opponent. The Seminoles defeated Samford 87-62 on Nov. 26 in Tallahassee, Florida.