Iowa women’s third-quarter run halts Robert Morris

Robert Morris kept it close for three quarters, but ultimately couldn’t survive the Hawkeyes’ tenacious fourth-quarter defense as Iowa pulled off the 92-63 win.

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Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

Robert Morris made the Hawkeye women’s basketball team more nervous than they would’ve liked to have been in Carver-Hawkeye Sunday afternoon.

After a rough third quarter, Iowa came out firing in the fourth, outscoring Robert Morris, 25-5, on its way to a 92-63 win.

It was a much-needed win for the Hawkeyes, who were coming off a rough two-game skid.

“Coming off a couple of tough losses kind of gave us a chip on our shoulder,” forward Megan Gustafson said. “Being able to go in and have a really good game was really important, and we did that in the first and fourth quarters.”

While the fourth-quarter run helped seal the game for Iowa, it was a solid first quarter that gave it an early lead to lean on.

After Robert Morris gave the Hawkeyes a tough two minutes to start the game, the Hawkeyes went on a 16-2 run to turn a 9-7 deficit into a 12-point lead at the end of the first quarter.

As Hawkeye fans have grown accustomed to, Gustafson led the way with a monster game.

Her famous dropstep move was devastating for the Colonials, as she burned them for 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Gustafson’s big afternoon put her within dunking distance of some major milestones. She is now just 13 points away from 2,000 in her career, and 4 boards away from breaking Iowa’s all-time career rebounding record.

Complementing Gustafson was her partner-in-crime down low, Hannah Stewart, who had an efficient afternoon, scoring 16 times on 6-of-8 shooting along with 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

Stewart and Gustafson both led a dominating performance in the paint, as Iowa put up 56 points inside and out-rebounded Robert Morris, 39-15.

Also in double figures for the Hawkeyes was Makenzie Meyer, who dropped in 12 points with 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

What helped Robert Morris stick around so long was Iowa’s inability to defend the 3-point line.

Throughout the game, the Colonials found themselves with consistent wide open shots and it showed on the stat sheet. They were 11-of-30 from deep, which accounted for more than half of their points.

The problem for Iowa was transition defense, where the Colonials capitalized on a confused Iowa defense.

“[We need to] communicate in transition,” guard Tania Davis said. “We all have to take initiative. When we’re in transition [defense] we can’t run and find our girl, we have to go find the open girl.”

While no game in the regular season lacks significance, this one had a little bit extra for the Hawkeyes, as they welcomed a guest to their bench.

That guest was Dr. Christine Grant, who was the University of Iowa athletic director from 1973-2000. Iowa honored her before tip-off.

“[Having her on the bench] was really meaningful for all of us, because we know what she’s done for this program and women’s athletics all over the country,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “She means a lot to me personally, and she means a lot to these women.”

Now, Iowa will get set for a big in-state rivalry game against Iowa State. The teams will go to battle Wednesday at Carver-Hawkeye with tip-off at 7 p.m.

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