By Jordan Zuniga
Just three weeks ago, the Hawkeyes were in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
Since then, they have gone on a 5-1 streak, and after a 70-61 win over Northwestern on Sunday in Evanston, Illinois, Iowa has now won four games in a row, improving to 20-6 on the season. With just three games remaining in the regular season, the surge has come at the perfect time, and the Hawkeyes hope they can finish with seven wins in a row.
Right out of the gate, the Hawkeyes herded the Cats, and they shot themselves into a 21-13 lead after a quarter. Their fast start has been common during the recent run of success, and head coach Lisa Bluder was full of praise.
The beginning of the second quarter opened with a surge from the Wildcats, but that was followed with a Hawkeye run to give the Black and Gold a commanding 37-23 lead at the half.
Iowa never relinquished the lead, and it set itself on cruise control for the rest of the game. After the Feb. 8 game, in which Iowa saw most of its offensive production from the post, Sunday’s game saw more action from the guards.
Makenzie Meyer performed efficiently, with 12 points and 2 assists to go along with a steal, while Kathleen Doyle’s 15 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals rounded out the stat line.
“I thought Kathleen did a good job leading us today,” Bluder said. “I liked her game — her defensive effort was outstanding, especially guarding [Northwestern’s] Lindsey Pulliam, who has been very, very good.”
Doyle’s work on Pulliam certainly aided the Hawkeyes, Northwestern’s leading scorer was held to just 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Another contributor who came off the bench, Hannah Stewart, put up 8 points to go along with solid defense, including 3 steals and a block.
But, as usual, the star of the Hawkeye show was the ever-consistent Megan Gustafson, who put up her usual numbers, 25 points and 16 rebounds. Her 25 points were good enough to move her to eighth on Iowa’s all-time career scoring list — she currently has 1,626.
She is now also fourth on Iowa’s all-time career rebounds list with 901. What is spectacular about that is she is only a junior, which means if the trend continues, she could finish as Iowa’s leader in both categories.
Gustafson’s next chance to climb higher on the all-time lists will have to wait a week, but her and the Hawkeyes will need a week’s rest to prepare for the rigorous final week of the regular season.
“This is a perfect time for [our team] to rest,” Bluder said. “Next week, we have a compressed week with three games in seven days. This week, we need to rest, heal, and get everything ready to go into next week.”
Iowa’s next game will be Feb. 18 at 2 p.m., when it takes on Wisconsin in Carver-Hawkeye.