By DARREN MILLER
MADISON, Wis. — A double-double by Wisconsin native Megan Gustafson led the No. 21 University of Iowa women’s basketball team to a 56-46 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday at the Kohl Center. It is the 18th consecutive win in the series for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa improved to 13-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten Conference; Wisconsin is 7-7, 0-1.
A hand injury Wednesday to sophomore Makenzie Meyer forced the Hawkeyes into action with no practice time with their “new” starting lineup that included sophomore Amanda Ollinger. Still, Iowa raced to a 24-5 lead early in the second quarter.
“That was vital,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We had a great first quarter and then it kind of slowed down on us so good thing we had that great first quarter and that nice lead.”
Iowa led 19-4 after 10 minutes. The Hawkeyes made 8 of 14 field goals and grabbed 15 rebounds; Wisconsin was 2 of 14 from the field (0 of 6 from 3-point) with four boards.
Gustafson’s 40th career double-double included 21 points and 16 rebounds. Senior Chase Coley and freshman Alexis Sevillian also scored in double figures for Iowa with 14 and 11 points.
“It’s tough losing Makenzie,” Gustafson said. “She’s a great shooter and defender, but we rallied together and stayed confident.”
Iowa made 14 of 15 free throws (Gustafson was 11 of 11), but shot 37.3 percent from the field (19 of 51).
“When I’m not able to make my (field goals), to be able to finish at the free throw line is important,” said Gustafson, who was 5 of 12 from the field.
The Badgers were led in scoring by Suzanne Gilbreath (11), Courtney Fredrickson (10), and Marsha Howard (10).
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“It’s our first game playing with Amanda in the starting lineup and with Carly (Mohns) playing in the perimeter position. Considering all those things and then going on the road, I’m really proud of our team. We came out of here, got a road win, and start the Big Ten play 1-0 with Makenzie or Tania (Davis).
“If you want a chance in the top half of the Big Ten, you have to protect your home court, that is essential. Then you have to pick up a few of these road wins here and there and they are so hard to come by. You forget how hard they are to come by. We’re going to enjoy this one.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa dominated on the glass and out-rebounded Wisconsin, 49-29. Gustafson led the way with 16 rebounds and Ollinger pulled down eight.
- Iowa matches its best start to begin a season since 2004-05.
- Gustafson registered her 13th double-double of the season.
- Gustafson has now scored 20-or-more points eight times this season.
The Hawkeyes host No. 19 Michigan (12-2) on Sunday at 3 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Wolverines have won eight straight games, including an 89-69 decision over Penn State on Dec. 28.
“It’s an important game because Michigan is (ranked No. 19) and ahead of us,” Bluder said. “This is our only meeting with them all year. Getting them on our home court is a wonderful opportunity.”