By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — In a game with 100 points scored in the paint, two 3-point field goals gave the University of Iowa women’s basketball team breathing room during a 75-61 victory over Michigan on Thursday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
On back-to-back possessions in the third quarter, junior Makenzie Meyer made a 3-point field goal off an assist from Kathleen Doyle; 20 seconds later, senior Tania Davis was good from distance off an assist from Meyer.
The possessions stretched a 36-31 lead into a 42-31 margin with 7:16 left in the third quarter. Iowa remained in control for the duration and improved to 13-4 overall, 4-2 in the Big Ten. Michigan fell to 11-7, 2-4.
“Huge momentum,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “That’s really fun basketball.”
The six points from long balls were part of a 10-0 run by the Hawkeyes that included two field goals by senior Hannah Stewart. The burst came at a good time: Michigan’s Hailey Brown opened the quarter with a layup, cutting Iowa’s lead to 32-31.
Fans around the Big Ten are used to seeing Iowa senior Megan Gustafson lead her team in scoring and rebounding. She did both against the Wolverines with 21 points and 16 rebounds and added a new component by sharing game-high assist honors with six.
“Reading what the defense is giving us,” Gustafson said. “They have been focusing on me with the double and triple teams some times. I’m able to hit my post buddy on the other side. Being patient and able to read it instead of throwing up a bad shot is what I have been working on.”
For the fourth time in the last five games, four Hawkeyes scored in double figures. Stewart made 8 of 12 field goals and finished with 16 points, while Davis and Doyle added 10 points apiece. Davis and Gustafson both had six assists, Meyer handed out five and Doyle added four. Doyle and Stewart had three steals apiece.
After shooting 63 percent from the field in a win at Minnesota on Monday, the Hawkeyes remained hot by making 34 of 59 against Michigan (57.6 percent).
Naz Hillmon scored 16 points off the bench to lead Michigan in scoring.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“We shot the ball well, our 3-point defense was good, we had four people in double figures. Twenty-five assists on 34 baskets, there are just so many good things that are happening with this team.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa committed two turnovers and allowed one offensive rebound in the second half. Over the course of the first 20 minutes, the Hawkeyes turned the ball over seven times and Michigan pulled down 11 offensive boards.
“I love our third quarter,” Bluder said. “We shot the ball well and defended well. We were having trouble boxing out in the first half.”
Iowa outscored the Wolverines 22-9 in the third quarter and shot 63.3 percent from the field in the second half.
Iowa’s three seniors — Davis, Gustafson, and Stewart — combined for 47 points, 24 rebounds, and 15 assists.
The Hawkeyes will play their third game in six days when they travel to Illinois on Sunday. The Illini are 9-8, 1-5 after a 77-67 loss to Nebraska on Thursday.
“(Illinois has) all the makings and (head coach) Nancy (Fahey) has done a really good job there. It will take our full focus,” Bluder said. “We want to have this (winning streak) snowball. We want to have it keep getting bigger and keep going. We want to get on a roll.”