Without Davis and now Meyer, Iowa still owns Wisconsin

Women's basketball: Hawkeyes beat Badgers for 18th straight time, claim Big Ten opener

Iowa's Megan Gustafson high-fives teammates during a game earlier this season. Gustafson had 21 points and 16 rebounds in Thursday's win over Wisconsin. (Rebecca F. Miller)
Iowa's Megan Gustafson high-fives teammates during a game earlier this season. Gustafson had 21 points and 16 rebounds in Thursday's win over Wisconsin. (Rebecca F. Miller)

MADISON, Wis. — They’ll be OK, Chase Coley insists.

“Initially, we were frustrated,” Coley said, in the wake of Makenzie Meyer’s broken hand that has her out indefinitely. “But we realized, we’re fine. Everybody we still have, has different strengths.”

No. 21 Iowa survived its first game after suffering its second backcourt setback, holding off Wisconsin, 56-46, in a Big Ten women’s basketball game in front of 3,865 Thursday night at the Kohl Center.

The Hawkeyes (13-1 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) lost Tania Davis to a torn ACL and medial meniscus in her left knee Dec. 17. On Wednesday, at the end of practice, Meyer suffered a fourth metacarpal fracture in her left hand.

Meyer will be out at least two weeks, then will be re-evaluated.

“It’s tough,” Megan Gustafson said. “Makenzie is a great shooter and a great defender. But we knew we could do it tonight if we stayed confident.”

And this is a place — and an opponent — that exudes good vibes for Iowa. The Hawkeyes defeated Wisconsin (7-7, 0-1) for the 18th straight time.

Iowa got out to a 24-5 lead early in the second quarter, then kept the Badgers at bay after the host team got within seven points midway through the third period.

Gustafson was held to her worst shooting game of the season (5 of 12 from the floor), but scored seven points in a 9-0 Iowa run that stretched the lead to 45-29, and the margin stayed in double figures the rest of the way.

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“Sometimes the shots aren’t falling, but I was able to finish at the free-throw line,” said Gustafson, who made all 11 of her foul shots and finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds.

Coley unleashed a stream of mid-range jumpers and added 14 points. Alexis Sevillian scored all 11 of her points in the first half.

“It’s just a shot I work on,” Coley said. “With us being short-handed, I knew I had to step up. And I did.”

Still, the Hawkeyes aren’t the same team without Davis and Meyer. One of the most efficient teams in the nation when at full strength, the Hawkeyes accumulated just 12 assists, against 21 turnovers.

Amanda Ollinger’s first start was met with mixed reviews. She shot just twice and didn’t score, but hauled in eight rebounds as Iowa enjoyed a 49-29 advantage on the boards.

“She didn’t score, but she affected the game,” Wisconsin Coach Jonathan Tsipis said.

Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said, “Amanda was a great player in high school. A great player. She needs to remember that.”

When Ollinger wasn’t playing on the perimeter, it was Carly Mohns (usually a backup in the post) or Zion Sanders (a freshman walk-on).

The Hawkeyes held Wisconsin to 28-percent shooting, including 2 of 17 to start the game.

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“We can’t get down like tonight, not in the Big Ten,” said Wisconsin’s Courtney Frederickson. “The energy we brought in the second half, we need to bring earlier.”

The Hawkeyes will host No. 19 Michigan at 3 p.m. Sunday. Wisconsin is at Purdue on Sunday.

IOWA 56, WISCONSIN 46

At Madison, Wis.

IOWA (56): Chase Coley 7-13 0-0 14, Megan Gustafson 5-12 11-11 21, Amanda Ollinger 0-2 0-0 0, Alexis Sevillian 4-13 0-0 11, Kathleen Doyle 2-7 0-0 5, Hannah Stewart 1-3 0-0 2, Zion Sanders 0-0 0-0 0, Carly Mohns 0-1 3-4 3. Totals 19-51 14-15 56.

WISCONSIN (46): Marsha Howard 4-10 2-4 10, Abby Laszewski 0-3 0-2 0, Courtney Frederickson 4-16 2-2 10, Kendra Van Leeuwen 0-5 0-0 0, Niya Beverley 2-8 2-2 7, Suzanne Gilreath 4-13 0-0 11, Roichelle Marble 0-2 0-0 0, Kendall Shaw 4-7 0-0 8. Totals 18-64 6-10 46.

Halftime: Iowa 30, Wisconsin 14. 3-point goals: Iowa 4-14 (Ollinger 0-1, Sevillian 3-10, Doyle 1-3), Wisconsin 4-18 (Frederickson 0-2, Van Leeuwen 0-3, Beverley 1-1, Gilreath 3-11, Marble 0-1). Team fouls: Iowa 8, Wisconsin 17. Fouled out: Howard. Rebounds: Iowa 49 (Gustafson 16), Wisconsin 29 (Shaw 6). Assists: Iowa 12 (Doyle 7), Wisconsin 9 (Beverley 4). Steals: Iowa 7 (Coley, Gustafson 2), Wisconsin 12 (Howard, Van Leeuwen, Beverley 3). Turnovers: Iowa 21, Wisconsin 10.

Attendance: 3,865.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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