By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There were 3-point field goals. There was balanced scoring. And at the end of the day, there was an 18th victory for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team.
The Hawkeyes (18-6 overall, 6-5 Big Ten) made seven 3-point field goals (six in the first half) and all five starters scored in double figures during a 92-84 victory over Minnesota (17-6, 6-4) on Sunday in front of 6,561 on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The win is Iowa’s second in a row and third in its last four games. The Hawkeyes lost at Minnesota, 77-72, on Jan. 21.
“It feels good to get this one back,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We lost a close one up at their place; it was a one-possession game with a minute to go up there, so I felt good we had a pretty good lead going into the fourth quarter.”
Iowa never trailed Sunday and led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter (44-27). The Hawkeyes were ahead, 68-57, with 10 minutes remaining.
Junior Megan Gustafson posted her 22nd double-double in 24 games this season with 25 points and 15 rebounds. She scored 20 points in the second half, 12 in the third quarter. Other Hawkeyes scoring in double figures were senior Chase Coley (17, with seven rebounds), sophomore Makenzie Meyer (16, with four 3-point field goals), freshman Alexis Sevillian (11, with four assists and four steals), and sophomore Kathleen Doyle (10, with eighth assists).
“They were able to contain me (in the first half) because I got in foul trouble,” Gustafson said. “It’s great to be able to depend on my teammates; it was raining 3s in the first half, so that was cool to see. I am happy I was able to depend on my teammates today.”
For Coley, a native of Minneapolis, it was special knocking off the Gophers.
“This is my last game against Minnesota, unless we play them in the Big Ten Tournament,” Coley said. “It is always fun to play against those girls because I have known so many of them for so long and I have played with some of them. It is fun getting that last win, especially on our home court.”
Two of the biggest advantages for the Hawkeyes came at the free throw line and in distributing the ball. Iowa made 27-of-33 free throws (Minnesota was 14-of-21) and handed out 20 assists (Minnesota had three).
The streaking Hawkeyes have five regular-season games remaining, three of them at home.
“Why not us?” Bluder said when asked if her team was poised for a late-season spurt. “If we keep coming out strong; we have come out the last two games more aggressive and if we keep doing that, there is no reason we can’t make a good run.”
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“I like the team basketball. We have five people in double figures, we have 20 assists on 29 baskets and so team basketball is so good for us. Obviously really, really happy to see the 3s drop.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
After going 4-of-28 from 3-point in their most recent games against Nebraska and Michigan State, the Hawkeyes were 7-of-15 from distance Sunday. Iowa made six 3-point field goals in the first half, helping build a 17-point advantage.
- Iowa had five players score in doubles for the first time in 16 games. The last time the Hawkeyes had five in double figures was against Florida State on Nov. 29.
- Gustafson set an Iowa record for most career double-doubles (men or women) with 49.
- Junior Carly Mohns tied a career high with seven rebounds.
- Freshman Alexis Sevillian had a career-high four steals.
The Hawkeyes remain home to play Penn State on Thursday at 7 p.m. (CT). It is the only regular season matchup between the teams this season. The Nittany Lions are 14-10, 5-6 after a 74-59 victory over Michigan State on Sunday.
“We would like to make it three (wins) in a row,” Bluder said. “It’s nice to have back-to-back home games. We started with a challenging Big Ten schedule; you look at who we have remaining — more home games — and you look at the standings…every game is so important, but I feel the schedule turned for us a little bit and we’re going to make the most of February.”