By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There was 3:15 left on the game clock and the shot clock was winding down.
With her team on top by six points, University of Iowa senior point guard Kathleen Doyle knew she had to do something. She made a 3-point field goal to put the Hawkeyes up by nine points in a game they would win over Drake, 79-67, on Saturday in front of 7,625 on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Kathleen’s 3 with three minutes to go was a dagger,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.
Doyle finished with a double-double 19 points and 10 assists as Iowa won its fourth game in a row to finish the nonconference season 9-2.
“When the shot clock is winding down, it is the point guard’s job to make something happen,” Doyle said. “That happened to be the read I made and I’m glad (the shot) went in. My teammates were knocking shots down all night, so that was one of the good ones.”
Doyle was just getting warmed up. On Drake’s next possession, she made a steal and converted a layup to put Iowa up 11. A minute later, senior guard Makenzie Meyer scored two of her game-high 24 points off an assist from Doyle.
The Hawkeyes made 30 of 56 field goals in the game (53.6 percent), including 10 of 15 in the second quarter when they outscored Drake, 23-10. Center Monika Czinano was 8 of 10 from the field and scored 17 points. Meyer, playing in her last in-state game, made four 3-point field goals. Junior guard Alexis Sevillian was 4 of 5 from the field and scored 11 points.
“We can take whatever is there,” Bluder said. “I have confidence in our 3-point shooters and I have confidence in our inside game; that’s the way it should be. We’re not one-dimensional and I’m happy with our balance.”
Freshman Gabbie Marshall had a career-high five steals in 12 minutes.
Sara Rhine and Becca Hittner scored 17 and 16 points for Drake (7-4). Hittner made her first three 3-point attempts and had nine points 2:28 into the game. She scored seven points over the final 37:32.
“Kathleen played great defense on Becca,” Bluder said. “Becca Hittner is a good player and Doyle played good defense on her.”
THE STREAK GOES ON
Iowa has won 27 consecutive home games, ranking third in the country behind Baylor and Connecticut.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“Very good win. I feel good about this win. Drake is a good basketball team, they will most likely be in the NCAA Tournament at the end of this year. For what we lost last year, to go 9-2 through the nonconference, especially when you think back to the UNI loss (88-66 on Nov. 17) and where we were then and where we have come since, I am proud of our women and their focus this week.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Drake committed 23 turnovers. Iowa had 14 steals. The Hawkeyes scored 31 points off turnovers. The Bulldogs scored just 13 points of Iowa’s 14 turnovers.
The Iowa starters scored 77 of its 79 points, but Bluder said there is more to a quality bench than scoring points.
“Our bench didn’t contribute as much tonight, but I have so much confidence in Tomi (Taiwo) and Gabbie (Marshall). McKenna (Warnock) had a couple points for us and she played important minutes. It’s not just the offense we look at, it’s the defense and rebounding as well.”
The Hawkeyes open Big Ten play Dec. 28 against Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are 9-1 and play Manhattan on Sunday.