By Sean Bock
From start to finish, Iowa dominated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 85-45, in Carver-Hawkeye on the afternoon of Dec. 9.
The Golden Lions (2-6) lacked the depth and talent to keep up with the Hawkeyes (10-1) — they only had eight active players for the game.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “When you get a lead that’s substantial, it’s hard to keep going and going. We’re happy with the victory, happy with the defense. Assists [are] still high, and we shot the ball really well.”
Iowa shot 8-of-19 from 3-point land and capitalized on free-throw opportunities; the Hawkeyes finished 21-of-27 (78 percent) from the charity stripe.
Megan Gustafson led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds, converting her last six attempts from the field after missing her first shot of the contest.
Tania Davis was the star in the backcourt, scoring 16 points while going 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line.
“It felt great,” Davis said. “After Iowa State, I met with my position coach and went to work. Back to the basics and just getting back focused and clearing my mind.”
The main concern for the Hawkeyes was turnovers, which have been a trend all season. Iowa coughed up the ball 16 times on offense, many because of their up-tempo style.
The Hawkeyes did force 20 turnovers, but they’ll need to lower their own miscues, especially with conference play right around the corner.
Despite turnover troubles, the Hawkeyes pride themselves on sharing the ball, something they believe has made them successful so far this season.
“This team really loves to pass the ball,” Bluder said. “We celebrate the assists. In practice, we don’t talk about the basket, we talk about the assist. That’s team basketball at its finest, and we love to play that way.”
Pine Bluff had three players foul out during the game, including their best player, Faith Ohanta, who had a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds.
In addition to the turnover struggle, Iowa had a tough time keeping the smaller Lions off the offensive glass.
Pine Bluff was able to grab 18 offensive rebounds against the Hawkeyes, who had a significant height advantage.
The backcourt duo of Kathleen Doyle and Makenzie Meyer continued their strong play; they each chipped in 11 points along with pushing the ball to get out on the fast break.
Coming off a hard-fought victory in Ames on Dec. 6, the Hawkeyes were able to grab an easy victory in front of a chaotic Carver crowd.
“That is special, because I think everybody knew it wouldn’t be the tightest of games,” Bluder said. “But we wanted to celebrate the Iowa State win with them. We wanted to get back into Carver with them, so really thankful for everybody coming out today.”
Iowa will have a brief hiatus until its next game, Dec. 17 at Northern Iowa.