Ugly, but curse-breaking.
By Jordan Zuniga
For the first time in 28 years, the Iowa women’s basketball team tasted victory in Hilton Coliseum, the home of Iowa State.
“It’s hard to put into words what this win means to us as a program,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “It has been a monkey on our back. It’s been a psychological thing, and I’m just really happy for all Hawk fans. I hope they understand that we want to share this with every single Hawkeye fan out there. It’s so hard to come over here and win, and I’m so proud of my team.”
The 61-55 win not only marked Iowa’s first win in Ames since the turn of the century, but its first game this season in which the Hawkeyes failed to reach 70 points.
Iowa’s low score was the result of the team shooting 38 percent (22-58) from the floor, but the win was the result of them holding Iowa State to just 30 percent (18-61).
As can happen with rivalry games, it didn’t always appear to be the best basketball—the second quarter saw a total of 12 points on a combined 4-of-26 from the field.
“We didn’t play our best and we know that, but we didn’t get rattled when they got within one,” Bluder said. “We didn’t get rattled when they had a huge crowd and they got loud in here. I’m really proud of my team for being able to have composure in that situation and getting after it defensively.”
The ugly shooting night was shared by both teams, with the exception of Megan Gustafson and Makenzie Meyer—the only two who shot above 50 percent on the game.
Meyer drained her shots from beyond the arc, going 4-of-6 from that range and 5-of-7 on the game for a total of 18 points. Gustafson poured in the buckets down low, accumulating 16 on 5-of-8 shooting.
Along with Gustafson’s 16 points came 14 rebounds to mark her ninth double-double of the season in just 10 games. Resilience was the key for her Wednesday night.
“My goal was to keep working as hard as I possibly could, no matter who was on me,” Gustafson said. “They were collapsing inside quite a bit, so I was able to get some open looks for my teammates, especially at the end of the game. I was able to depend on my teammates to help out, and I’m so happy for this win.”
The win also put the Hawkeyes ahead in the 2017-2018 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, 7-6.
Also aiding Gustafson in grabbing misses was Hannah Stewart, who grabbed a career-high 12 boards.
Both of them contributed to the 46 team rebounds, which was good enough to outpace the Cyclones by 10.
Another thing that proved deadly for Iowa State was Iowa’s ability to pass the ball. They’ve shown that skill all season and it paid off again, as 16 of its 22 field goals came from an assist.
Iowa will return to the eastern side of the state for a game December 9 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 2 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye.