By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Junior Megan Gustafson scored a career-high 37 points, but it was visiting Purdue that departed Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a 76-70 victory Saturday afternoon.
The Boilermakers shot 50.9 percent from the floor and made nine 3-pointers to hand the Hawkeyes their third loss of the season. Iowa falls to 15-3, 3-2 in Big Ten play, Purdue is 12-7, 3-2.
“Our defensive intensity wasn’t what it needed to be,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder. “I think we scored enough to win, but in my mind, it was our defense. We also had a few to many turnovers.”
Purdue took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Hawkeyes by eight (25-17) to take 57-49 lead. Andreona Keys scored 13 of her 34 points in the period and the Boilermakers made 10 of their 15 field goal attempts.
The Hawkeyes made a fourth-quarter run, trimming the deficit to 59-58 on an Alexis Sevillian 3-pointer with 7:20 remaining, but Keys answered with five straight and Dominique Oden’s 3-pointer made the score 67-60 with 4:10 remaining.
Iowa made one last push, getting to within 67-65 on a Chase Coley turnaround jumper, and Iowa had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead, but Sevillian’s 3-pointer didn’t fall. Purdue followed with a 9-0 run to seal its first win in Iowa City since 2008.
“Our focus wasn’t always there on defense today,” said Coley. “There were a few lapses in communication and we weren’t able to find Keys on the court.”
Keys drove, slashed, and shot her way to her 34-point performance. She made 13-of-19 field goals, including four 3-pointers. She had seven 3-pointers entering Saturday’s game.
“Her penetration is good, she’s good off the dribble, and strong taking it to the hole,” said Bluder. “We didn’t have an answer for her today.”
Iowa started the game strong, jumping out to a 16-11 first-quarter lead. Purdue then shot 52.9 percent in the second quarter to build a 27-20 lead, but the Hawkeyes fought back to tie the game at 32 following a Gustafson layup at the buzzer.
Gustafson made 17-of-23 field goals and pulled down 14 rebounds for her NCAA-leading 17th double-double. Iowa out-rebounded Purdue, 39-27, in the contest.
GUSTAFSON AND ?
Gustafson notched her career-high with 37 points, but Iowa only had two players finish in double figures. Coley finished with 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and Iowa’s starting backcourt of Sevillian and Kathleen Doyle finished a combined 5-of-28 from the field, although Doyle had 10 assists.
“Megan played great, but we have to get more people involved than Megan in our offense,” said Bluder. “It can’t be a Megan show and sometimes it looked like we were waiting around and letting her do the work for us.”
Outside of Gustafson, Iowa made 14-of-44 (31.8 percent) field goals for the game. The Hawkeyes went just 3-of-16 attempts from 3-point range.
“It’s hard when nobody is hitting from the outside and you can’t open things up for Megan,” said Bluder. “They were taking good shots that they can make, I know they can make them.”
Junior Carly Mohns made her first start of the season, replacing Amanda Ollinger in the starting lineup. She finished with two points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes.
“We felt Carly deserved an opportunity,” said Bluder. “It’s about her being an (upperclassman) and having a chance to start on her home court, knowing (she and Amanda) were going to split time.”
- Iowa outscored Purdue, 36-16, in the paint, and the Hawkeyes scored 17 second-chance points off 14 offensive rebounds.
- The Hawkeyes committed 16 turnovers, and Purdue turned those into 16 points.
The Hawkeyes hit the road for consecutive road games, beginning with a Tuesday matchup at Nebraska at 7 p.m. (CT) in Lincoln.
“It was a tough loss, but the most important thing is to stay optimistic and positive,” said Gustafson. “Even though our defense wasn’t there tonight doesn’t mean it can’t be there the rest of the week going into these two road games.
“We’ll get back at it at practice tomorrow and keep that focus.”