By CARI GOLD
AMES, Iowa – The University of Iowa women’s basketball team defeated Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series foe Iowa State, 61-55, on Wednesday night at Hilton Coliseum. It marked the first time the Hawkeyes have won in Ames since Dec. 17, 1989.
“It’s hard to put into words what this win means to us as a program,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “It has been a monkey on our back. It’s been a psychological thing, and I’m just really happy for all Hawk fans. I hope they understand that we want to share this with every single Hawkeye fan out there. It’s so hard to come over here and win, and I’m so proud of my team.”
Prior to tonight’s victory, the home team had won 15 of the last 16 meetings in the series, including the last 10 contests.
Makenzie Meyer led Iowa with 18 points, going 5-7 from the field, 4-6 from beyond the arc, and 4-5 from the charity stripe. Meyer has now scored in double figures five times this season.
After being held to just two points in the first half, junior Megan Gustafson netted 14 points and pulled down seven boards in the second half to register her ninth double-double of the season (16 points, 14 rebounds). It marks the 36th double-double of her career.
“Megan was triple teamed,” said Bluder. “What a performance by her. She was triple teamed, and she still comes out of here with a double-double, and that shows how hard she works.”
“My goal was to keep working as hard as I possibly could, no matter who was on me,” said Gustafson. “They were collapsing inside quite a bit, so I was able to get some open looks for my teammates, especially at the end of the game. I was able to depend on my teammates to help out, and I’m so happy for this win.”
Hannah Stewart grabbed a personal-best 12 boards and had eight points. It marked the first double-digit rebounding performance of Stewart’s career.
In true Cy-Hawk fashion, Iowa and Iowa State battled back and forth in a first quarter that saw six lead changes. After holding the Cyclones scoreless for the first 7:01 in the second quarter, the Hawkeyes took a 26-19 advantage into the locker room at the break.
“We didn’t play our best and we know that, but we didn’t get rattled when they got within one,” said Bluder. “We didn’t get rattled when they had a huge crowd and they got loud in here. I’m really proud of my team for being able to have composure in that situation and getting after it defensively.”
The Cyclones knotted the score at 38-38 with 1:46 left in the third frame, but Iowa regained the lead heading into the final quarter. Iowa State threatened to draw even again in the fourth quarter, pulling within one with 28 seconds remaining. The Hawkeyes responded making 5-of-6 free throws in the final 27 seconds to secure the 61-55 win.
Iowa returns home to host Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday at 2 p.m. (CT) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.