The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Gustafson, Coley Light it Up in Hawkeye Win

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily
Iowa forward Chase Coley looks to pass the ball during the Iowa/Penn State basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions, 80-76. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Megan Gustafson has been the story all year for the Hawkeyes.

Her 33 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists may seem like she was the only Iowa player to have a big night Thursday in Carver-Hawkeye, but she wasn’t the only member of the bunch who put on a show in Iowa’s 80-76 victory over Penn State.

Fellow forward Chase Coley was also unstoppable, pitching in a career-high 24 points while grabbing 7 rebounds and going a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.

“Chase has a great game,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “She had a career-high in points, and some of those were from Megan’s career-high 7 assists. I thought they worked really well together.”

The Hawkeyes led by as much as 18 in the second half, but Penn State started to chip away slowly, then gouged away quickly, and narrowed the lead to 2 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. But it couldn’t find a way to grab the lead.

“We did have that stretch where they made a run,” Coley said. “That’s something we focus on all year is grit. Just staying together at the end of the game no matter how ugly it is and continuing to work as hard as we can.”

Down by 2 with 36 seconds left in the game, Penn State decided not to foul and force Iowa to earn a bucket. The Lady Lions ended up paying the price as Gustafson sank a left-handed hook shot with 7.5 to go to extend the Iowa lead to 4 and put the game out of reach.

RELATED: Women’s basketball looks to build on Winning Streak

Gustafson was double-teamed all night, but she found a way around the defenders for easy buckets.

“I think just being able to have that footwork,” Gustafson said. “Tonight, I was able to go baseline, which was something we practiced beforehand.”

Iowa turned the ball over 20 times, which was the primary reason it almost coughed up the lead.

While the taking care of the rock was a struggle, Iowa was able to make up for it with its shooting.

The Hawkeyes were 31-for-56 (55 percent) from the field and converted on 15 of its 18 attempts from the charity stripe, which proved to be the difference in the end. Iowa’s one weakness in the shooting department was from 3-point land; it finished 3-of-13 from distance (23 percent).

Penn State was led by junior guard Teniya Page and her 23 points. Sophomore guard Amari Carter chipped in 16, Jadia Travascio-Green added 13 points.

The main reason Penn State was able to keep it close were the Hawkeye turnovers.

The Lady Lions only coughed up the ball nine times, and they proceeded to give the Iowa offense fits in the last few minutes.

Kathleen Doyle had the most difficulty finding her way around the pesky Penn State defense — she gave the ball away eight times and seemed to be forcing the issue numerous times.

In the end, though, Iowa came away with the victory, which is all that matters.

The Hawkeyes (19-6, 7-5 Big Ten) — who hold the seventh spot in the conference rankings — will return to action on Feb. 11 when they travel to Evanston for a matchup with Northwestern.



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