Iowa guard Makenzie Meyer looks to the hoop during the Iowa/Arkansas-Pine Bluff basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Lions, 85-45. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Women’s basketball dominates Drake


The Hawkeyes completed the in-state sweep, taking down Drake on Dec. 21.

By Sean Bock

Home games during winter break are often the most difficult.
Especially when one of your leaders goes down with a season-ending knee injury, it’s hard to stay focused and get the job done.
The Iowa women’s basketball team was able to stay focused on Dec. 21, beating Drake, 79-66, in Carver-Hawkeye.
With the win, the No. 25 Hawkeyes clinched the ‘state title,’ as head coach Lisa Bluder likes to call it, going 3-0 against in-state D-1 opponents for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
“It’s important for state pride,” Bluder said. “You want your Hawk fans to really get behind your team. I think this is another reason they should get behind this team, because we are the best team in the state this year. Does it mean we’re going to make the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year? No. We still have a lot of work to do. It certainly is a fun way to start.”
Megan Gustafson did Megan Gustafson things against Drake, scoring 27 points and grabbing 12 rebounds — another double-double for the junior forward — and the Hawkeyes sent the Bulldogs to the pound.
In the absence of guard Tania Davis, sophomore guard Makenzie Meyer stepped up and played arguably her best game of the season. The Mason City native knocked down 21 points, shooting 5-of-10 from 3-land and dishing out 7 assists.
Alexis Sevillian was the third Hawkeye to score in double figures — she chipped in 12 points, all from beyond the 3-point line.
“Lexi is our second-leading scorer on our team right now,” Bluder said. “She’s a good player. Makenzie, you’ve seen it from her all year. It’s not surprising. They’re just going to have to play more extended minutes. Amanda [Ollinger] is going to have to play more extended minutes. I know they can do the job. It’s just that, you know, we don’t have that breathing room anymore of depth.”
Iowa was able to frustrate the prolific Bulldog offense, which entered Carver averaging a bit more than 84 points per contest.
Sophomore guard Becca Hittner did all she could to keep her team somewhat close; she had a game-high 27 points in 26 minutes for Drake (6-6).
The Hawkeyes wrapped up the nonconference schedule with a 12-1 record, and they have lots of momentum going into conference action.
“You know, it feels good,” Bluder said. “I think we’ve had a really good nonconference season, to go 12-1, our one loss being by 1 point to a top-15 team in America, ‘state champs.’ We’re happy about that.”
Iowa will start Big Ten play on Dec. 28 against Wisconsin in Madison.

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