By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Chase Coley and Carly Mohns have company in what prior to Thursday had been an elite club.
Coley, a senior, and Mohns, a redshirt junior, were the only University of Iowa women’s basketball players on this year’s 11-woman roster to taste victory over Penn State.
Iowa shot 67 percent from the field in the first half (20 of 30), built an 18-point lead in the third quarter, and held on to win its third game in a row, 80-76, over Penn State in front of 5,878 on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It snapped Iowa’s three-game losing skid against the Nittany Lions, dating back to a 77-52 win Dec. 28, 2014, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Coley played six minutes and grabbed three rebounds and had an assist back in 2014.
“That was a long time ago, I don’t remember much about it,” Coley said. “It was fun to beat them (Thursday), because we haven’t for the past few years. That felt good to get that win.”
This outing should stick out more to Coley. She scored a career-high 24 points on 9 of 11 shooting from the field, made all six free throw attempts, pulled down seven rebounds, and had three assists in 30 minutes.
“Chase has a great game,” Bluder said.
Junior Megan Gustafson poured in a game-high 33 points on 13 of 19 shooting from the field and 7 of 8 from the line. She grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out a career-high seven assists.
The Hawkeyes shot 55.4 percent for the game and had 26 assists on 31 made field goals. Iowa opened its largest lead at 58-40 with 5:04 left in the third quarter after Coley made two free throws.
Penn State whittled the lead to 75-73 with 2:56 remaining, but the Hawkeyes held on, thanks to a free throw by sophomore Makenzie Meyer and two free throws and a field goal from Gustafson.
Iowa improves to 19-6 overall, 7-5 in the Big Ten, Penn State is 14-11, 5-7.
The Nittany Lions were led by Teniya Page with 23 points. Penn State attempted 17 more field goals than the Hawkeyes, but made one fewer. The Nittany Lions finished the game by shooting 41.1 percent from the field.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“Good win for our team. Our post play was remarkable; the way they were passing the ball between each other. Happy with the outcome.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa’s three-headed post monster of Coley, Gustafson, and junior Hannah Stewart combined to make 26 of 35 field goals (74.2 percent) and hand out 10 assists.
“That is almost unheard of,” Bluder said.
Snow and cold didn’t keep a nice crowd of 5,878 from coming out to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We talk about our team grit,” Bluder said. “For those people who came out tonight, that was grit for them to come out. I appreciate the ones who made the effort to get here.”
Then Gustafson, who played 34 minutes, interjected.
“They were loud, especially at the end, which was great.”
MEGAN DOES IT AGAIN
Gustafson registered her 23rd double-double of the season and 50th of her career. She has scored 30-or-more points six times this season.
The Hawkeyes play at Northwestern (9-16, 2-9) on Sunday in their second-to-last road game of the regular season. Tip-off from Beardsley Gymnasium is 2 p.m. (CT). The Wildcats lost their sixth straight game, 84-63, at Michigan on Feb. 8.