The Daily Iowan

Women’s hoops runs away with first game in Florida

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Iowa center Megan Gustafson fights for an offensive rebound away from Western Michigan defenders during the Iowa/Western Michigan women's basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Broncos, 79-56. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa center Megan Gustafson fights for an offensive rebound away from Western Michigan defenders during the Iowa/Western Michigan women's basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Broncos, 79-56. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Joseph Cress

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Joseph Cress

Iowa center Megan Gustafson fights for an offensive rebound away from Western Michigan defenders during the Iowa/Western Michigan women's basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Broncos, 79-56. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Sean Bock, [email protected]

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The Iowa women’s basketball team got off to an excellent start in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, cruising to a 90-46 victory over Morgan State on Nov. 22, improving their record to 5-0.

Megan Gustafson led the Hawkeyes with 18 points and 10 rebounds, her fifth-straight double-double to start the season.

Iowa shot 34-of-53 (64 percent) from the field and played stellar defense, forcing the Bears to shoot 15-of-70 (21 percent).

The Hawkeyes outrebounded Morgan State, 49-22, and 13 of the rebounds came on the offensive end.

Heading into the game, Iowa was second in the nation in free-throw percentage at 93 percent. The Hawkeyes struggled from the line in this one, just 19-of-29 (65 percent) from the charity stripe.

“The game started out a little bit slow,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We had too many turnovers in the first half and gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. But in the second half, we did a much better job. We hit some shots after starting out cold in this game. We ended up shooting 64 percent from the field largely because we didn’t take a lot of 3s in this game.”

Forward Hannah Stewart came off the bench and made an impact. The junior had a career-high 13 points and 7 rebounds and shot a scintillating 6-of-7 from the floor. Stewart also had 3 steals after swiping 4 on Nov. 19 in the Hawkeyes’ win against Western Michigan.

Guard Alexis Sevillian continued her hot start to the season with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in 27 minutes.

RELATED: Women’s hoops takes care of Western Michigan

Forward Chase Coley was also solid, chipping in 11 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 4-of-4 from the field.

The story line of the game may have been the return of sophomore guard Kathleen Doyle.

Doyle injured her ankle in the Nov. 11 win against Western Kentucky and wasn’t expected to be back until around Christmas. In her comeback performance, Doyle had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists in 15 minutes to go along with 5 turnovers, which is normal considering her status.

Iowa dominated in the paint, outscoring Morgan State 48-14 inside and 20-3 in fast-break points.

Not much can be taken away from this game because of the quality of the opponent, but it’s safe to say the Hawkeyes showed their superiority, which is precisely what they needed to do against weaker squads.

“I want the team to rest a little bit tonight,” Bluder said. “Go outside, breathe some fresh air, but then also rest and get off those legs, but our main focus is to go out there and beat Charlotte tomorrow.”

Iowa will face Charlotte on Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. at Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale.

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