Iowa women’s hoops catching fire with win over Ohio State

Iowa throttled Ohio State on its way to its third consecutive victory.

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Iowa women’s hoops catching fire with win over Ohio State

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson (10) looks for a shot during a basketball game against Michigan State on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans 86-71.

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson (10) looks for a shot during a basketball game against Michigan State on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans 86-71.

David Harmantas

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson (10) looks for a shot during a basketball game against Michigan State on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans 86-71.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Iowa forward Megan Gustafson (10) looks for a shot during a basketball game against Michigan State on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans 86-71.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

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The result was never in much doubt for the No. 16 Hawkeyes (19-5, 10-3 Big Ten) on Sunday as they pulverized Ohio State (10-12, 6-7), 78-52.

Almost immediately after the tip, Kathleen Doyle scored a bucket and the Hawkeyes proceeded to open up the game on a 17-4 run, and they kept going.

They had another big run coming out of halftime, where they expanded a 33-27 halftime lead to a 47-34 lead with 3:26 left in the third quarter.

“It’s always good when you set the tone early and we set the tone early both times out of the locker room,” Bluder said in a release.

Defense was the catalyst for both of Iowa’s big runs. In the first quarter, the Hawkeyes held the Buckeyes to just 25 percent shooting.

The start of the third quarter held much of the same results, as Ohio State made just 26.7 percent of its shots including an abysmal 1-of-7 from deep.

“We had to rely on our defense [early] and we did a nice job boxing out, getting extra possessions and getting stops,” forward Megan Gustafson said in a release. “We were able to put the ball in the hoop in the second half.”

In not-so-shocking fashion, Gustafson was the leading scorer and rebounder in the game for the Hawkeyes. She drop-stepped her way to 29 points and boxed out for 16 rebounds on her way to the 77th double-double of her illustrious career.

It was a solid week for the 6’3 Gustafson, even by her lofty standards. Over the past week, Gustafson has slammed home 70 points with 30 rebounds. Another conference Player of the Week award is likely in her future.

In true Gustafson fashion, she deflected all praise to her teammates, who racked up 22 assists, a large chunk of which went to Gustafson.

“We emphasize giving up the good shot to get a great shot,” Gustafson said in a release. “My teammates did a nice job getting the ball into me and if I was doubled, finding somebody else. It worked well and made for a fun game.”

With the win, Iowa has now won three in a row by an average margin of 20 points. Its convincing wins over the past week and a half have the Hawkeyes flying high.

“You come into Ohio State and you lead for almost the entire game,” Bluder said in a release. “We have had three convincing wins in a row and we’re playing good basketball. Two of those have been on the road.”

Now, the games become really important for Iowa. This week, the Hawkeyes play host to Illinois, Thursday at 7 p.m. before their biggest game of the season on Feb. 17.

That’s when Iowa plays host to No. 10 Maryland, which is just one game ahead of the Hawkeyes for first place in the Big Ten standings.

“This is an important week for us,” Bluder said in a release. “We need a good win against Illinois and then keep that rolling against Maryland on [Feb. 17].”