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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Mak is back and the No. 14/13 University of Iowa women’s basketball team continues to roll.
Junior guard Makenzie Meyer returned to the court after missing two games with a knee injury and the Hawkeyes (20-5 overall, 11-3 Big Ten) won their fourth game in a row, 88-66, over Illinois (10-15, 2-12) on Thursday in front of 6,877 on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Meyer entered the game with 6:32 left in the first quarter and two seconds later, she made a layup to tie the game, 6-6. She finished with 10 points, one of four Hawkeyes to score in double figures. Senior center Megan Gustafson scored 27 points with 17 rebounds (in 28 minutes), junior guard Kathleen Doyle scored 12 points with four assists, and senior guard Tania Davis contributed 10 points and a game-high five assists.
“Tania had a nice game for us,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “She shot the ball well, had five assists, only one turnover, had four rebounds. She did a good job leading us.”
Davis was 5-of-5 from the field. Gustafson was 9-of-11 from the field and 9-of-11 from the line.
Iowa won the battle of the boards, 44-26, and outscored the Illini, 48-16, in the paint.
The Hawkeyes scored 20-or-more points in all four quarters for just the second time this season and the first time since crushing Western Kentucky, 104-67, on Nov. 13.
Alex Wittinger led Illinois with 15 points and seven rebounds. She scored seven points in the fourth quarter.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“I’m happy with four people in double figures. We shot the ball well. Again, high assists (19). I’m really excited about the rebounding. I thought we dominated the boards and it allowed us to get our transition going which I thought was also good.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Seventy-eight. That’s how many times Gustafson has finished with a double-double in points and rebounds during her career, a Big Ten Conference record. Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender had 77 double-doubles from 2007-11 before being selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.
“That’s pretty cool that she just claimed another one of those records that had stood for quite a while,” Bluder said. “She continues to dominate in the scorebook.”
MAKE IT 10 IN A ROW
Iowa shot better than 70 percent from the field in the first (71.4) and fourth (72.7) quarters to finish at 55.2 percent for the game (32 of 58). The Hawkeyes have shot above 50 percent from the field in 10 consecutive games.
MAKE IT 17 IN A ROW
Iowa has won 17 consecutive games on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, including a 13-0 mark this season. The last loss for the Hawkeyes at home was 92-74 against Nebraska on Jan. 28, 2018.
All eyes will be on Iowa City on Sunday when the Hawkeyes entertain league-leading No. 7/8 Maryland (23-2, 12-2) with tip-off set for noon (CT). The Terrapins defeated Nebraska, 89-63, on Thursday.
“We’re excited, for sure,” Gustafson said. “We’re going to keep focusing on preparing every game, no matter who we’re playing. This will be fun game, we’re expecting a nice crowd, so we’re excited.”
Tickets for Sunday’s game may be purchased HERE.