By Sean Bock
Sometimes, everything seems to go your way.
Almost every shot attempt finds a way to go through the net, tipped passes turn into easy baskets, and the opponent can’t buy a bucket.
That was the case for Iowa on Sunday as the Hawkeyes breezed for an easy victory over Wisconsin, 88-61, in Carver-Hawkeye.
“I thought we started with high energy on both offense and defense,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I want to thank the crowd that came out for our pink game. The pink game means something to our team, so this was a game we took personally. We wanted to play for not just Iowa but other people as well.”
Iowa was red hot from the field, shooting 33-of-57 (58 percent) from the field for the game and 16-of-22 (73 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Hawkeyes led, 23-13, at the end of the first quarter, then proceeded to outscore the Badgers by 17 points, summing up its 27-point victory.
“Our team did a really good job with clock management at the end of the quarters,” Bluder said. “Making sure we were getting a good shot at the end of every quarter. They just did a great job defensively. We talked about how it’s important for us to finish possessions. I always love it when defense turns into offense.”
Throughout the game, Iowa made it a priority to get the ball inside to the bigs. The Hawkeyes finished with a season-high 46 points in the paint, 20 more than the Badgers.
Megan Gustafson finished with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, Hannah Stewart chipped in 10 points, and Chase Coley added 7.
While the frontcourt was doing much of the heavy lifting, the perimeter players also had their fair share of contributions.
Alexis Sevillian poured in 19 points and drained five 3-pointers to get back on track after recent struggles. Kathleen Doyle tallied 10 points and dished out 6 assists. Makenzie Meyer was the only other Hawkeye to convert on a 3-point attempt, as she and Sevillian were responsible for all of Iowa’s success from downtown.
“We played for something bigger than ourselves today,” Sevillian said. “That gave us a little extra drive, plus we had the week off. So, a lot of us were able to get more shots, which gave us more confidence.”
Two of Iowa’s primary issues this season have been turnovers and defense. While the Hawkeyes didn’t keep great care of the ball in this one — 17 turnovers — they did a fantastic job of frustrating the Wisconsin offense. The Badgers shot 25-of-66 (38 percent) for the game.
As of Feb. 12, Iowa is a No. 8 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN’s Bracketology. The Hawkeyes have two more regular-season contests left before it travels to Indianapolis to compete in the Big Ten Tournament.
The next matchup for Bluder’s Bunch will be in Piscataway, New Jersey, against Rutgers on Feb. 21.
“I’m really happy with the way our team played today,” Gustafson said. “We need to continue to do that finishing up the final stretch into the Big Ten Tournament.”