No. 19 Iowa Rides Late Scoring Explosion to Down Spartans

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IOWA CITY, Iowa —  After No. 19 University of Iowa defeated Michigan State, 74-57, on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, 13,420 Hawkeye women’s basketball fans saluted Megan Gustafson, its greatest player of all time.
Minutes earlier, Iowa freshman McKenna Warnock was busy doing her best Gustafson imitation.
Iowa (17-3 overall, 8-1 Big Ten) trailed 48-46 heading into the final 10 minutes, then Warnock took over. The first-year player from Marshall, Wisconsin (five hours southeast of Gustafson’s home town), scored 15 of her game and career-high 22 points, making 5 of 6 field goals and 4 of 4 free throws. She blocked two shots and had an assist.
“It was my teammates and coaching staff trusting in me,” Warnock said. “I had a couple play calls for me and everyone on the court told me to take it at them.”
Warnock also pulled down 10 rebounds for the second double-double of her career.
Iowa now has a one game lead over Northwestern and Maryland in the Big Ten standings after its eighth straight win and 32nd consecutive home win.
Senior Kathleen Doyle overcame a rare off shooting night to score 20 points with seven steals, six rebounds, and five assists. Her steal and coast-to-coast layup tied the game at 48 with 7:00 remaining. It was the first field goal for the Hawkeyes since the 5:24 mark of the third quarter.
“I got off to a good start, then I wasn’t finishing well at all,” said Doyle, who scored 14 points in the first half. “I wasn’t making good decisions in the lane. I did my best to control myself and find open teammates. They picked me up.”
Two other Hawkeyes scored in double figures: senior Makenzie Meyer had 13 and senior Amanda Ollinger added 10.
Iowa out-rebounded Michigan State, 39-37, and shot 47 percent from the field (56 percent in the second half). The Spartans shot 37 percent for the game, 25 percent in the fourth quarter.
Michigan State (11-9, 4-5) was led by Taryn McCutcheon with 12 points and five assists.
Gustafson had her No. 10 University of Iowa jersey retired in a postgame ceremony.
“It’s incredible to come from such a small town (Port Wing, Wisconsin) and to be a role model for other people…I don’t play the game of basketball because of the game; I play it for so much more. I play it to inspire other girls and boys to know they can realize their own dreams.”  
“The fourth quarter was important, obviously. I think we wore them out. We kept chasing; (Michigan State) was very physical at the beginning of the game and that took us out of our rhythm a little bit. Then we adjusted well to it and McKenna came in and played a marvelous game.”
Iowa made 19 of 26 free throws, the 12th straight time the Hawkeyes have scored at least 10 points from the line. Michigan State was 5 of 10 from the line.
“The free throw line was kind to us,” Bluder said. “We get to the free throw line a lot.”
Iowa outscored Michigan State, 28-9, in the fourth quarter, when the Hawkeyes made 10 of 14 field goals and 7 of 8 free throws. Warnock scored 15 of her game-high 22 points in the final 10 minutes.
The Hawkeyes play two games on the road next week, beginning at Penn State on Thursday. Tip-off is 6 p.m. (CT) from the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania. The Nittany Lions are 7-13, 1-8 after an 81-68 loss at Purdue on Sunday.