By DARREN MILLER
GREENSBORO, N.C. — An eighth consecutive win by the University of Iowa women’s basketball sends the Hawkeyes to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 26 seasons.
Iowa defeated No. 10 North Carolina State, 79-61, on Saturday in Greensboro Coliseum for its 18th win in the last 20 games.
All-American center Megan Gustafson led the Hawkeyes with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow seniors Hannah Stewart and Tania Davis also scored in double figures with 16 and 10 points, respectively. Juniors Kathleen Doyle and Makenzie Meyer added nine points apiece.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team and how much heart we showed on the court,” Gustafson said. “(North Carolina State) went on some good runs and I’m so proud of how we played today.”
North Carolina State retires with a record of 28-6. The Wolfpack were led by senior Kiara Leslie with 16 points and nine rebounds and freshman Elissa Cunane with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“You always want to take your program as high as you can and make it as good as you can and this certainly was a step for us. It was important to our staff and players to make it to the Elite Eight.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa made 31 of 57 field goals (54.4 percent) while holding the Wolfpack to 34.8-percent shooting (24 of 69). It is the fifth consecutive game the Hawkeyes have shot better than 50 percent from the field; in the three NCAA Tournament games, Iowa has made 85 of 158 field goal attempts (53.8 percent).
ASSISTS UP, SO ARE THE 3’s
The Hawkeyes had 24 assists on the 31 made field goals, their most in a game since handed out 25 against Northwestern in the final regular-season game. Doyle led the way with eight assists, followed by Davis with six.
Iowa was 7 of 18 from 3-point range, its most most in a game since making seven against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament. Davis, Meyer, and Alexi Sevillian all made two 3-point field goals against North Carolina State. Sevillian was 2-for-2.
QUEEN OF DOUBLE-DOUBLE LAND
Gustafson’s 27-point and 12-rebound performance was her 33rd double-double of the season, tying an NCAA record. She has 88 double-doubles in her career.
“If I’m able to score, I’m going to score inside,” Gustafson said. “If I’m not (scoring), I have to look for my teammates and if one thing is not working, focus on something else, which is usually rebounding for me. I love to rebound and I know it gives extra possessions for our team.”
With 16 points and 11 rebounds, Stewart turned in the third double-double of her career.
Following the Sweet 16 win over North Carolina State, the 2018-19 Hawkeyes matched a school record with 29 victories. The only other time an Iowa women’s basketball team won 29 games was during the 1987-88 season (29-2).
This was the second meeting between the Hawkeyes and Wolfpack. Iowa won the other meeting as well, 56-50, on March 14, 1997, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The eighth-ranked Hawkeyes (29-6) will play No. 1 Baylor (34-1) on Monday at 6 p.m. (CT). In the only previous meeting between the teams, Baylor eliminated the Hawkeyes from the Sweet 16 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 2015 by a score of 81-66.