By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Instead of a bow, University of Iowa senior Makenzie Meyer — after making a career-high six 3-point field goals and scoring 24 points — dribbled out the final seconds of her final regular season home game Thursday.
She glided across the Tigerhawk logo on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, while Minnesota defenders looked on, resigned to the outcome. When the final horn sounded, the Hawkeyes had earned a hard-fought 90-82 win over Gophers in front of 8,297. Meyer held onto the ball, then looked toward the hoop and imitated launching a final shot.
The way her senior night played out, it’s a good bet the ball would have found its way through the cylinder. Meyer made 9 of 12 field goals — 6 of 9 from 3-point — and shared game-high scoring honors with sophomore center Monika Czinano, who made 12 of 16 field goals.
“It’s encouraging as a shooter when you see a couple of your first shots go down, so that helped me stay confident,” Meyer said. “It is a game I will always remember and a great way to go out of Carver-Hawkeye in front of so many amazing fans.”
No. 18 Iowa improved to 23-5 overall, 14-3 in the Big Ten; Minnesota is 15-13, 5-12.
By making 34 of 57 from the field (59.6 percent), the Hawkeyes enjoyed their finest shooting performance since making 65 percent against Illinois on New Year’s Eve. Freshman McKenna Warnock boosted the shooting numbers by making 5 of 5 for 11 points.
Meyer also led the way with six assists, Warnock had five. Czinano, Warnock, and senior Amanda Ollinger each pulled down six rebounds. Iowa held a 33-29 advantage on the boards.
The teams combined to make 11 3-point field goals in the first half — six by Minnesota and five by Iowa. The Gophers were 5-of-10 from distance in the second quarter, when they outscored Iowa, 28-21. The Hawkeyes enjoyed a 40-28 lead with 3:54 left in the first half and 46-43 at the break.
Iowa outscored Minnesota, 28-20, in the third quarter with Meyer scoring eight and Warnock adding seven.
It was the final regular season home game for Hawkeyes Meyer, Ollinger, Kathleen Doyle, and Paula Valiño Ramos.
Minnesota was led in scoring by Gadiva Hubbard with 20 points.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“When you think, these seniors have gone the last 2 1/2 years undefeated on their home court — that’s simply amazing. It’s hard to grasp that.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Well over half of Iowa’s points were scored in the paint. Of the Hawkeyes’ 90 points, 50 came in the lane. Iowa, which scored 54 paint points Saturday against Penn State, has scored 50-or-more paint point three times this season.
To one of the winningest senior classes in @IowaWBB history: thank you. 🙏
The Hawkeyes sent them out with a victory on Senior Night. pic.twitter.com/vyDQsygrMQ
— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) February 28, 2020
For the second straight season, Iowa finished undefeated at home during the regular season. The Hawkeyes will take a 36-game home winning streak into the postseason, the second-best active home winning streak in the nation to Baylor’s 54.
73 AND COUNTING
Meyer continues to lead Iowa in 3-point shooting. For the season, she has made 73 of 173 (42.2 percent).
The Hawkeyes wrap up the regular season Sunday against Rutgers (20-8, 10-6) at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Scarlet Knights have won five in a row at home, including 63-43 over Wisconsin on Thursday.
MINNESOTA-IOWA PHOTO GALLERY