SPORTS

'Gritty' Hawkeyes top Michigan, move to 14-1

Women's basketball: Start is best through 15 games since 1995-96

IOWA CITY — Carly Mohns, they call “Beef.”

Themselves, they call “gritty.”

The 21st-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes picked up their biggest victory to date, answering every challenge No. 19 Michigan could muster in a 82-72 Big Ten women’s basketball triumph in front of a season-high 6,928 Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“The team uses ‘grit’ as a word, and we have it,” Mohns said. “Perseverence has a lot to do with it.”

Iowa (14-1 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) is off to its best 15-game start since in 22 years. The 1995-96 team started 20-1 on its way to a 27-4, Sweet 16 season.

Who knows how this season will end up, but it’s been a joyous ride so far.

“We’re down a couple players and we’re small in numbers, but we keep believing in each other,” Megan Gustafson said.

The Hawkeyes have lost Tania Davis (torn ACL) for the season and Makenzie Meyer (broken hand) indefinitely.

But that grit ...

“It was a pretty happy locker room,” Coach Lisa Bluder said. “This was an important game for us.”

Clinging to a 64-62 advantage with 3:43 left, Iowa scored the next eight points to break it open for good.

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Chase Coley hit an 18-footer, then Kathleen Doyle picked up a loose ball and drove it the distance for a layup. Coley located Doyle for a backdoor layup. Then Doyle connected for an easy bucket to make it 72-62.

The Hawkeyes sewed it up with 10 free throws in the final minute.

Some of the heroes were familiar faces. Gustafson (27 points, 11 rebounds) posted her 14th double-double of the season, and Doyle (23 points, nine assists) nearly joined her.

Gustafson was 8 of 9 from the field and connected on all 11 of her free throws. She is 22 of 22 from the line in Big Ten action.

“The refs were calling fouls and I got to the line,” she said. “It’s important to hit those.”

Bluder said, “She was a (61-percent) free-throw shooter as a freshman, and she has shot 50 to 100 free throws every day since. That’s just the kid Megan is. If she has a weakness, she’s going to fix it.”

Alexis Sevillian scored 10 points, Coley and Mohns nine each.

“I’m so happy for Beef ... I mean, Chase,” Bluder said.

Wait a second. Beef?

“It came from my dad,” Mohns said. “I liked to eat beef, a lot, when I was little.

“I told the team, and it caught on.”

Down by as many as five points early, Iowa rattled off 12 straight points for a 25-14 lead, its largest of the half. The run included a banked 3-pointer by Sevillian that beat the shot clock.

Michigan (12-3, 1-1) closed the half strong, though, and trailed 34-30 at intermission.

The Wolverines took leads of 38-36 and 43-41 in the third quarter, but Gustafson scored 13 in the quarter, and Iowa took a 56-47 advantage into the final 10 minutes.

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“I’m tired, but the fans brought us so much energy,” said Doyle, who logged 39 minutes. “It makes us believe in ourselves. Tired legs are nothing.”

Katelynn Flaherty paced the Wolverines with 24 points.

The Hawkeyes will play four of their next five games on the road, starting with No. 14 Maryland (13-2, 2-0) on Thursday.

Michigan is at Wisconsin on Thursday.

IOWA 82, MICHIGAN 72

At Iowa City

MICHIGAN (72): Jillian Dunston 3-6 0-0 6, Hailey Brown 1-5 1-2 3, Hallie Thome 3-7 1-1 7, Katelynn Flaherty 8-19 4-6 24, Nicole Munger 3-4 0-0 8, Kayla Robbins 3-6 5-6 11, Akienreh Johnson 1-2 0-0 2, Deja Church 4-13 2-2 11. Totals 26-62 13-17 72.

IOWA (82): Chase Coley 3-4 3-6 9, Amanda Ollinger 0-4 0-0 0, Megan Gustafson 8-9 11-11 27, Alexis Sevillian 3-13 2-2 10, Kathleen Doyle 9-17 3-6 23, Hannah Stewart 2-7 0-0 4, Zion Sanders 0-0 0-0 0, Carly Mohns 4-4 0-0 9. Totals 29-58 19-25 82.

Halftime: Iowa 34, Michigan 30. 3-point goals: Michigan 7-20 (Brown 0-1, Flaherty 4-12, Munger 2-2, Johnson 0-1, Church 1-4), Iowa 5-20 (Ollinger 0-3, Sevillian 2-10, Doyle 2-6, Mohns 1-1). Team fouls: Michigan 19, Iowa 13. Fouled out: Dunston, Thome. Rebounds: Michigan 30 (Thome 7), Iowa 38 (Gustafson 11). Assists: Michigan 9 (Dunston 4), Iowa 19 (Doyle 9). Steals: Michigan 10 (Thome, Church 3), Iowa 6 (Mohns 2). Turnovers: Michigan 15, Iowa 16.

Attendance: 6,928.

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

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