By DARREN MILLER
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — An eight-point lead with six minutes to play didn’t hold for the 17th-ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team during a 62-57 loss to Purdue on Thursday in front of 5,843 in Mackey Arena.
The Hawkeyes (11-4 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) went on top 50-42 after Megan Gustafson’s field goal off an assist from Tania Davis with 5:58 left. The Boilermakers answered with eight consecutive points. After two lead changes, guard Karissa McLaughlin drained a 3-point field goal from the right baseline giving Purdue a 55-52 lead it never relinquished.
Gustafson led all players with 19 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out with 1:43 remaining and Iowa trailing by two points. Hannah Stewart scored 17 points and had six rebounds. Davis and Kathleen Doyle both handed out seven assists.
The Hawkeyes shot 41 percent from the field — its lowest of the season — but held Purdue to 39 percent shooting from the field. Iowa was 3 of 17 from distance, with Makenzie Meyer making 2 of 10 and Davis making 1 of 5.
“We did not shoot the ball well today, but we defended well until the last four minutes of the game,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.
How evenly-matched was this game? Purdue led for 17 minutes, 6 seconds and Iowa led for 17 minutes, 5 seconds.
Karissa McLaughlin and Dominique Oden led Purdue (12-5, 3-1) with 16 points apiece. Ae’Rianna Harris grabbed 11 rebounds.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“Getting in foul trouble was a big issue, but our 3s were not falling. You make 3 out of 17 (3-point field goals), then we missed a couple key box-outs. We don’t box out the shooter at the free throw line, we left McLaughlin open in the corner for a wide open 3 — I thought that was a huge momentum for them.”
McLaughlin’s 3-point field goal with 2:54 remaining put the Boilermakers ahead for good, 55-52.
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Only three points were scored by non-starters and all three points came from Hawkeyes. Alexis Sevillian scored two and Amanda Ollinger added one. None of the four Boilermaker reserves found the scoring column.
Gustafson registered her 14th double-double of the season and Doyle has now registered five-or-more assists in each of her last six games.
The Hawkeyes remain on the road against Minnesota (12-3, 1-3) on Monday at Williams Arena. Tip-off is 6 p.m. (CT). The Gophers have lost their last three games against Michigan, Illinois, and Michigan State.
“Every game is important,” Bluder said. “We’re playing on the road and it’s tough to win on the road, but it’s not like I want to put all this pressure on them that we have to win this game. It’s not that time of year at all and it’s not that situation. We have to go in there and play our best and hopefully the results will show in our favor.”