Doyle leads Hawkeyes over Cyclones in surprise return

Kathleen Doyle practiced just once before dropping 22 in a 73-70 win over in-state rival Iowa State.


David Harmantas

Iowa guard Kathleen Doyle #22 looks to shoot after driving back Iowa State guard Ashley Joens #24 during a women’s basketball game against Iowa State University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 73-70. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

At the Cy-Hawk wrestling match Dec. 1, Iowa heavyweight Sam Stoll surprised everyone by wrestling through an injury and being the difference for the Hawkeyes in their win.

Four days later, Kathleen Doyle played much of the same role in the Iowa women’s basketball team’s 73-70 Cy-Hawk victory.

After breaking her hand on Nov. 2, Doyle needed only one practice before making her surprise season debut.

She started on the bench, but was subbed in early in the first quarter to a loud pop of applause from the Hawkeye faithful.

Doyle then went on to lead the Hawkeyes with 22 points while also handing out an assist, and totaling a block and 2 steals next to just 2 turnovers.

It was the boisterous Carver-Hawkeye crowd of 6,289 that Doyle credited for her impressive performance.

“It was the adrenaline getting me through thanks to our great crowd,” Doyle said. “I was willing to do anything to help our team win. I knew our team was going to get it done and I was glad I could be a part of it.”

The third quarter was where Doyle played her best basketball of the game, getting 9 of her 22 points in that span.

She was the only Hawkeye to get a bucket in the first half of the third quarter, as she had all of Iowa’s first 7 second-half points.

“She played great,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “Offensively, she gave them a boost because they weren’t getting it from some other places. She had a dramatic impact on their team.”

Most of her impact was before the fourth quarter, but also she figured in on some key sequences down the stretch.

With the Hawkeyes down 65-64 with just under three minutes to go in the game, Doyle took a stray Iowa State pass down the court and passed it off to Hannah Stewart for the easy bucket.

Then, about a minute later, she took the ball at the top of the key and drove the lane to extend the Hawkeyes lead to 68-65 with 1:50 to go.

In total, Doyle managed 4 points 2 steals and an assist all in the crucial final three minutes of the contest.

Not only was Doyle’s night important for her personally, but it was a performance the Hawkeyes desperately needed as Iowa State keyed in on Megan Gustafson down low.

Gustafson totaled a season-low 13 points with just 7 field goal attempts inside, while the other starting guards – Makenzie Meyer, Alexis Sevillian, and Tania Davis – all struggled from the floor, shooting for a combined 8-of-23 (34 percent).

While the scoring was certainly a necessity for the Hawkeyes Wednesday night, head coach Lisa Bluder was most impressed with her performance on the defensive end.

“She comes back and has 22 points, but it was her defense that we really needed tonight,” Bluder said. “I’m extremely happy about that.”

Next, Doyle and the rest of Bluder’s bunch will take on IUPUI Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye with tip-off at 2 p.m.