Iowa women looking for revenge against Purdue

The Iowa women look to keep their four-game winning streak alive Sunday in Carver-Hawkeye as they take on Purdue.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa players celebrate a victory after a women’s basketball matchup between Iowa and Rutgers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 72-66.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

Megan Gustafson lifted her arms up with jubilation on Wednesday night after No. 17 Iowa (15-4, 6-2 Big Ten) bested No. 14 Rutgers, the No. 1 team in the Big Ten.

“It was a pretty big win for us,” Gustafson said. “It’s huge, especially because we are in the race for the top spot, and it is our lone meeting with them.”

With the win, the Hawkeyes are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, just one game behind the Scarlet Knights for the top spot in the conference.

While the victory over Rutgers is certainly one of the most impressive for the Hawkeyes this season, they will have to face another marquee Big Ten team Jan. 27 in Carver-Hawkeye at 2 p.m: Purdue.

The Boilermakers (14-6, 5-2 Big Ten) are currently half a game behind Iowa in the Big Ten standings and the last team to top the Hawkeyes, on Jan. 10.

Iowa had the lead late in the game, but lost it when the Boilermakers went on a 12-5 run in the final four minutes to finish off the Hawkeyes, 62-57.

“That [game] still kind of gets at me a little bit,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It was pretty chaotic. We should’ve played better.”

The big issue for the Hawkeyes in their last matchup against Purdue was poor shooting, particularly from the Iowa guards. Tania Davis, Makenzie Meyer, and Kathleen Doyle combined to shoot 6-of-27 from the field.

RELATED: Iowa offense overpowers Rutgers’ top-ranked defense

As a team, things weren’t much better. Iowa recorded its lowest field-goal percentage (41 percent), and it was the only time this season that it failed to score 60 points.

“We did not shoot the ball well [Jan. 10],” Bluder said after the Purdue loss. “Our 3s were not falling.”

Lily Smith
Iowa forward Megan Gustafson drives to the basket during the Iowa/Michigan women’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, January 17, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wolverines, 75-61. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

However, that narrative has changed over the past couple weeks for the Hawkeyes. Since the loss to Purdue, Doyle and Davis have both enjoyed a stellar stretch.

Both have averaged 13.7 points per game. Doyle has done it on 46.6 percent shooting with 5.5 assists and 2 steals per game, while Davis managed 65.6 percent shooting to go along with 5.7 assists per game.

RELATED: Photos: Iowa women’s basketball vs. Rutgers (1/23/19)

In the four games since their last loss, the Hawkeyes have shot 58.5 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from deep, while averaging 80.5 points a game.

Their offensive spark culminated in their win over Rutgers, which has the top-ranked defense in the Big Ten.

Iowa scored more points and shot a higher field-goal percentage than any other team that has faced Rutgers this season, which earned the Hawkeye guards some praise from legendary Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer.

“Iowa’s guards are outstanding,” she said. “They shoot the ball extremely well, they work with precision, and they understand how to hit [Gustafson].”

Offensive momentum is at an all-time high for the Hawkeyes right now, which is why they’re salivating at the opportunity for a rematch against Purdue.

“We will play better on Sunday,” Bluder said. “We’re going to be prepared for them. We know that they play a 1-2-2 zone, and we’ll be ready for that.”