By CARI GOLD
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team defeated Samford, 80-59, on Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I was concerned about this game,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “It was sandwiched between Florida State and Iowa State. I thought it was an easy game for the team to lose its attention, so we talked about that a lot today leading up to the game in shoot around.
“Samford is a better team than their record indicates. They have really challenged themselves with playing a lot of good schools.”
Iowa had 26 assists on 30 field goals. Starting guards Tania Davis (7), Makenzie Meyer (6), and Kathleen Doyle (6) accounted for 19 of the Hawkeyes’ assists.
Megan Gustafson registered her eighth double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. She now has 35 double-doubles in her career.
Doyle (14) and Hannah Stewart (17) also scored in double figures. Stewart’s 17 points marks a new career high.
“It’s exciting,” said Stewart. “I wasn’t happy with my Florida State offensive performance, but I tried to not let that get into my head. We have so many good post players that I don’t really go into the game thinking about needing to score. The coaches tell me to take what is there and try not to force things. That’s what I tried to do today.”
The Hawkeyes jumped ahead early and led, 24-13, at the end of the first quarter. Iowa shot 77 percent from the field and 67 percent from beyond the arc in the first 10 minutes.
Iowa maintained its advantage through the second frame. After holding Samford scoreless for 4:52 of the quarter, Iowa took a 38-28 lead into the break. Gustafson and Stewart both had eight points for Iowa in the first half.
“I wasn’t thrilled with our first half performance, and the team heard about that at halftime,” said Bluder. “This was the first time they had really been challenged a halftime, and they responded. That’s what you want your team to do. When they were challenged today, they responded in the right manner.”
A pair of free throws by Doyle sparked a 9-0 run for the Hawkeyes over the final 2:50 of the third quarter, stretching Iowa’s lead to 63-47. Iowa continued to hold Samford scoreless through the first 4:12 of the final frame, extending its lead to 71-50 before securing the 80-59 victory.
Iowa travels to Ames, Iowa, for its annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup with Iowa State on Dec. 6. Tipoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. (CT).
By CARI GOLD