Iowa women’s basketball displays solid midseason stats

As the season starts to ramp up, The Daily Iowan takes a look at where the Hawkeyes stack up against the nation.

Iowa+forward+Megan+Gustafson+drives+the+ball+in+a+womens+basketball+game+against+the+University+of+Northern+Iowa+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Sunday%2C+Dec.+16%2C+2018.+The+Hawkeyes+beat+the+Panthers%2C+83-57.

Roman Slabach

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson drives the ball in a women’s basketball game against the University of Northern Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. The Hawkeyes beat the Panthers, 83-57.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

With classes starting up again and Big Ten play underway, the Iowa women’s basketball team is about at the halfway point of the season.

As the Big Ten standings sit, the Hawkeyes are in fifth. While that is a respectable place, it is low for a team that set season goals as high as Iowa did.

However, there are 13 games left — an ample opportunity for the Hawkeyes to improve their standing before the postseason.

Here’s a closer look at what has been working for the Hawkeyes through the first half of the season.

RELATED: Second-half rally propels Hawkeye women past Gophers

Gustafson is unstoppable

Anybody who has watched the team even for one quarter would agree there is no doubt Megan Gustafson is an elite player, and the Hawkeyes’ opponents treat her as such.

They attack her with double and triple teams, but that doesn’t matter. Even with the majority of the opposing defenses’ attention on her, she has managed to put up an average of 26.4 points per game, leading the nation.

What’s most impressive is her effectiveness late in games when her team needs it the most. Gustafson averages 8.8 points with a 73.1 field-goal percentage in the fourth quarter.

She also ranks in the top five nationally in eight statistical categories. Oh, and she is also the all-time leading scorer and rebounder for both men and women at Iowa.

Spreading the wealth

Katina Zentz
Iowa guard Kathleen Doyle dribbles past IUPUI guard Sydney Roule at the women’s basketball game against IUPUI at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, December 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars 72-58.

While Gustafson is undoubtedly the focal point of the Hawkeye offense, she hasn’t been the only one putting the ball in the hoop.

As a team, Iowa averages 80.6 points per game, good enough for 20th nationally.

A big reason for the Hawkeyes’ potent offense has been their ability to pass. Iowa averages 22.1 assists per game, third nationally.

Six Hawkeyes have dished out at least 20 assists so far this season, with Tania Davis leading the team at 75 (4.7 per contest) and Makenzie Meyer not too far behind at 72 (4.5).

In the first five Big Ten games, Kathleen Doyle has proved herself as a phenomenal passer; she averages 7 assists a game, third in the conference.

A consistent Stewart

Gustafson gets all the attention with gaudy numbers and smashed records, but one of the most dependable players for head coach Lisa Bluder’s squad has been Hannah Stewart.

Coming into this season, Stewart had never started a game at the college level. Now, she’s started all 15 of Iowa’s games and looks like a seasoned veteran.

She averages 12.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists along with a 57.1 field-goal percentage that ranks fourth in the Big Ten, 26th nationally.

What’s most impressive about Stewart’s performance this year has been her consistency. She has put up at least 12 points in 11 games and has only failed to reach double figures once. She has also recorded at least 5 rebounds in 10 games as well.

Stewart also contributes defensively in a major way. She is third on the team with 18 steals and second on the squad with 12 blocks.

 

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