ANKENY - In five years, only one team not named Iowa City West has won the boys' team tennis state championship in Class 2A.
The Trojans' daunting tennis legacy only makes the latest opportunity more enticing for Linn-Mar.
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The Hawkeyes continued to “go big” and on Sunday they got to go home with a 79-64 victory over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.
Iowa (15-7, 5-5 Big Ten) won its second straight. A week earlier Iowa had lost five of its last six, and Coach Lisa Bluder shook up the lineup.
On Sunday, all five starters scored at least 11 points.
“I love that we have five players in double figures,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “Megan (Gustafson) is battling in there. For a freshman in this league, she is doing great.”
In her third career start, Gustafson had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Hawkeyes. It was her second straight double-double.
“I just want to focus on rebounding,” the 6-foot-3 Gustafson said. “I try my hardest to get rebounds.”
Six-foot-3 sophomore Chase Coley had a game-high 19 points, on 8-of-10 shooting, to go with seven rebounds.
“Getting me in the high post,” Coley said. “I feel I’m pretty good at looking down there for Megan. If they are sagging off me, then I’m going to pull up for the shot.”
Iowa led 54-50 after three quarters, and Northwestern (13-9, 2-8) cut it to one point with 8:34 to play on a Maggie Lyon free throw, but the Iowa defense responded.
The Hawkeyes held the Wildcats to just 4-of-18 shooting (22.2 percent) in the fourth quarter, and Iowa hit 11-of-14 free throws to seal the victory.
“This team (Northwestern) averages 77 points a game, and we held them 13 points below average,” Bluder said. “I thought our zone was very good today.”
In addition to Gustafson (15) and Coley (19), Ally Disterhoft had 18 points and Tania Davis and Whitney Jennings each scored 11 points.
“We are really starting to play Iowa basketball,” Coley said. “We’re moving the ball around better. People are starting to hit their shots. It’s a brand new season.”
Iowa heads back on the road Thursday to take on Indiana (13-9, 5-5).
“Indiana is one of the surprise teams in the Big Ten,” Bluder said. “If we bring this defense, we can do it.”