The Daily Iowan

Iowa women top Iowa State in last-second thriller

Tania Davis launched a game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds and Megan Gustafson broke the program’s all-time rebounding record in a senior showcase.

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Iowa women top Iowa State in last-second thriller

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson #10 and her teammates celebrate after defeating Iowa State in a women's basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 73-70.

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson #10 and her teammates celebrate after defeating Iowa State in a women's basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 73-70.

David Harmantas

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson #10 and her teammates celebrate after defeating Iowa State in a women's basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 73-70.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson #10 and her teammates celebrate after defeating Iowa State in a women's basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 73-70.

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

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There was no doubt in senior Tania Davis’ mind when the ball left her hands that she had just hit a game-winner.

Iowa women’s basketball squeaked out its third-straight win over in-state rival Iowa State, 73-70, on Wednesday night.

In front of the biggest home crowd so far this season, Iowa faced a battle that tested the team in the final seconds of the contest. The Hawkeyes were aided by guard Kathleen Doyle, who made a surprise entrance into the game with a brace on her injured left hand.

Davis, though, became the hero of the night for the Hawkeyes in the waning seconds of the game.

“That’s a shot [Davis] is going to remember for the rest of her life,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I’m so happy for her. What she’s been through, for her to have the opportunity to have the game-winner in her senior year, especially against Iowa State, it’s pretty awesome.”

With just two seconds left on the clock and the score tied at 70 apiece, Davis pulled up on a big 3-pointer that lifted the team to its third-straight win over the Cyclones. Having suffered two ACL tears in her time at Iowa, it was nothing short of a career moment for Davis.

“[Davis] is a dog,” Doyle said. “It’s the truth, she’s just a gamer. She wants to be in the big moments. Going through two knees, she’s a tough cookie.”

Cyclone guard Ashley Joens – an Iowa City native –  had the chance to take the game into overtime with an open shot, but was not able to convert.

Having this one-two punch of Davis and Doyle at guard back for Iowa proved vitally important late in the game.
With all of the excitement happening in the background, senior Megan Gustafson made history. Gustafson put up her 1,080th career rebound, breaking the program’s all-time record set all the way back in 1980 by Cindy Haugejorde.

“I love rebounding,” Gustafson said. “It’s one of my favorite things. To even be able to be mentioned among some of these names is special for sure.”

She pulled down 16 rebounds on the night. This, paired with 13 points, gave Gustafson her seventh double-double of the season.

Standout guard Bridget Carleton of Iowa State made it difficult for the Hawkeyes. Carleton, a tall guard at a height of 6-1, proved difficult to guard for both Doyle and Davis. She led the Cyclones with 21 points in the outing.

The Cyclones were down by as many as 13 points in the first half, but efforts from Carleton forced the Hawkeyes to battle into the final seconds of the game.

Defensively, Iowa came up big. The Hawkeyes came up with 33 defensive boards on the night compared to only 12 from the Cyclones. Iowa has had some struggles contesting shots this season, but in the first half, the Hawkeyes held Iowa State to 12.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Iowa did not win for any one reason. The team was a perfect 15-of-15 from the free-throw line, outpaced the Cyclones in rebounding 45-37, and exited the game plus-3 over the Cyclones in turnover differential.

It was a much cleaner game for Iowa, something the team has been striving for since the beating at the hands of  Notre Dame last week.

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