Hawkeye women advance to Big Ten Championship

No. 10 Iowa women’s basketball took down Rutgers in a tense semi-final battle. The Hawkeyes advanced to the Big Ten Championship with the win.

Iowa+head+coach+Lisa+Bluder+cheers+on+the+Iowa+players+during+the+womens+Big+Ten+tournament+basketball+game+vs.+Indiana+at+Bankers+Life+Fieldhouse+on+Friday%2C+March+8%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Hoosiers+70-61.

Katina Zentz

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder cheers on the Iowa players during the women’s Big Ten tournament basketball game vs. Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday, March 8, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 70-61.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

The women’s Big Ten Tournament semi-final was hard fought, and it ended with No. 10 Iowa taking down Rutgers 72-67.

As was expected, Rutgers came into the game bearing down on Megan Gustafson, holding her to make just one of her first seven shots.

Makenzie Meyer and Hannah Stewart took up Gustafson’s lack of first quarter points, combining for 14 of Iowa’s first 19, and helped the Hawkeyes carve out a 6-point lead.

Gustafson still got her points, coming on strong for the rest of the game, pouring in 20 points with 11 rebounds to go along with her 3 blocks.

It was also the 29th double-double of her season which broke her own single-season record set last season. She also broke the single season rebounding record set by –– you guessed it ––Gustafson last year.

When Gustafson started to get going halfway through the second quarter, so did Iowa’s lead. The team eventually built up a 37-23 halftime lead.

Although Rutgers brought the lead down to three late in the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes never relinquished. The team continued to dominate in the second half and sealed a date in Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament Championship game.

Other than Gustafson, Iowa found significant support from Meyer, who finished with 13 points and 4 assists, along with stellar defensive play with 2 steals.

Although most of Stewart’s contributions came in the first half, she still finished with a solid night, racking up 14 points and 7 rebounds.

Kathleen Doyle had another solid night both defensively and as Iowa’s facilitator on offense, working for 7 assists, and 2 rebounds.

Iowa will play in the championship game Sunday at 5 p.m. (Iowa time), the game will be televised on ESPN 2.

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