Iowa advances to Elite Eight with win over NC State

The Hawkeyes moved on to their fourth Elite Eight in program history after taking down NC State, 79-61

Iowa+center+Megan+Gustafson+shoots+the+ball+during+the+NCAA+Sweet+Sixteen+game+against+NC+State+at+the+Greensboro+Coliseum+Complex+on+Saturday%2C+March+30%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+lead+the+Wolfpack+37-24+at+half.

Katina Zentz

Iowa center Megan Gustafson shoots the ball during the NCAA Sweet Sixteen game against NC State at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex on Saturday, March 30, 2019. The Hawkeyes lead the Wolfpack 37-24 at half.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

GREENSBORO, North Carolina—There was rarely any doubt in No. 2 seed Iowa’s 79-61 win over No. 3 NC State on Saturday morning.

The Hawkeyes proved themselves the superior team early on and continued to for 40 minutes on their way to clinching a spot in the Elite Eight for just the fourth time in program history.

An 8-0 run in the latter part of the first quarter gave them some initial separation and a 16-11 first-quarter lead.

That advantage was made in large part without Megan Gustafson, as her supporting cast knocked down shot after shot.

The other starters continued to excel in the second quarter, but this time, they also had a dominant Gustafson.

All five starters finished the half with at least 5 points and Gustafson led them all with 11 points and 6 rebounds.

That helped the Hawkeyes to a convincing 37-24 halftime lead, making the highly ranked NC State defense look pedestrian and its offense similarly inept.

The Wolfpack shot just 32.1 percent from the field in the first half, including 2-of-10 from deep.

Both of the major worries for Iowa coming into the game — Kiara Leslie and Elissa Cunane — were non-factors in the first half, combining for just 8 points on 3-of-10 shooting.

After halftime, the first punch came from NC State, getting the Greensboro crowd back into the game by hitting six of its first seven shots to cut the Iowa lead down to 7 with 6:41 to go in the third.

Cunane and Leslie brought the thrust of the punch. They each had 6 points in the quarter, both topping their individual total from the first. However, their success was short-lived.

It only took a timeout for the Hawkeyes to regain control of the game, and they built their lead back up to 12 points heading into the fourth quarter.

As they did all game long, the Hawkeyes continued to control the game in the fourth quarter, knocking down several 3s to pull away for good.

Gustafson led the way for Iowa with 27 points 12 rebounds for her 33rd double-double of the season, which ties the NCAA record for most in a single season.

A major reason why Iowa was able to win this game was its supporting cast, led by Hannah Stewart and Kathleen Doyle

Stewart racked up 16 points and 10 rebounds along with a steal and a block, while Doyle stuffed the sheet with 9 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals.

Tania Davis and Makenzie Meyer rounded out the Hawkeyes’ starting five, with Meyer totaling 9 points and 4 assists, and Davis racking up 10 points and 6 assists.

Next, Iowa will play the winner of the Baylor-South Carolina game on Monday at 6 p.m.

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