Against Minnesota, Iowa's Chase Coley laughs last

Hawkeyes fight past Gophers, 92-84

IOWA CITY — If this was Chase Coley’s final battle with her pals back home, permanent bragging rights are hers.

Coley was one of five players in double figures as Iowa held off Minnesota, 92-84, in a Big Ten women’s basketball game in front of 6,561 Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It’s always fun to play against those girls,” said Coley, a native of Minneapolis and an AAU teammate and/or opponent of many of the Gophers. “It’s especially good to beat them on our home court.”

The Hawkeyes (18-6 overall, 6-5 Big Ten) overcame a 35-point onslaught by Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell and won back-to-back games for the first time since late December.

Megan Gustafson posted 25 points (20 in the second half) and 15 rebounds, but there was plenty on this day to go around.

Coley added 17 points, Makenzie Meyer 16, Alexis Sevillian 11 and Kathleen Doyle 10.

Coach Lisa Bluder always cherishes that kind of balance.

“I really like that team basketball,” she said. “Five in double figures, and 20 assists in 29 baskets. That’s so good for us.”

The Hawkeyes reversed a 77-72 loss in Minneapolis two weeks ago. And now, with a relatively soft finishing schedule — all of the remaining five opponents are either tied with or behind Iowa in the Big Ten standings — a closing rush is possible.

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“I don’t see why not,” Bluder said. “If we keep doing what we did today, there’s no reason we can’t go on a run.”

The Hawkeyes built a comfortable lead behind two key stretches in the first half.

Iowa opened with a 13-2 run behind two 3-pointers by Meyer and another by Doyle.

“It definitely boosted my confidence when I got the first two to drop,” Meyer said. “It was good to break that (lid on the basket).”

Then, after the Gophers (17-6, 6-4) closed within 24-19 at the end of the first quarter, the Hawkeyes scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to stretch the lead to 15.

It was 38-22 when Gustafson and Doyle were each whistled for their second fouls, but the Hawkeyes held it together without them and led 48-33 at halftime.

“We just stuck to what was working,” Coley said. “We looked for cutters and open shooters.”

The margin remained in double digits before the Gophers made a late push, most of it by Bell.

“She’s one of the fastest point guards in the Big Ten,” Bluder said.

The Gophers sprinted within four points at 86-82 and 88-84 in the final half-minute before the Hawkeyes closed it out.

Despite an off shooting night by her standards (7 of 16 from the floor), Gustafson posted her 22nd double-double of the season and the 49th of her career, the most ever by an Iowa basketball player — male or female.

“I didn’t know about that until the last couple days,” she said. “I have to thank my teammates; they’re the reason I’m able to do what I do on the court.”

Carlie Wagner added 20 points for Minnesota.

The Hawkeyes will host Penn State at 7 p.m. Thursday.

IOWA 92, MINNESOTA 84

At Iowa City

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MINNESOTA (84): Jessie Edwards 0-0 0-0 0, Destiny Pitts 2-6 0-0 5, Kenisha Bell 13-27 8-13 35, Carlie Wagner 8-17 1-2 20, Gadiva Hubbard 5-10 0-0 10, Taiye Bello 2-4 3-4 7, Bryanna Fernstrom 1-3 2-2 4, Jasmine Brunson 1-1 0-0 3, Annalese Lamke 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-69 14-21 84.

IOWA (92): Chase Coley 6-10 5-5 17, Megan Gustafson 7-16 11-14 25, Makenzie Meyer 4-10 4-4 16, Alexis Sevillian 4-7 1-1 11, Kathleen Doyle 4-14 1-3 10, Hannah Stewart 1-5 2-2 4, Carly Mohns 1-2 2-2 4, Amanda Ollinger 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 29-67 27-33 92.

Halftime: Iowa 48, Minnesota 33. 3-point goals: Minnesota 6-12 (Pitts 1-3, Bell 1-2, Wagner 3-5, Hubbard 0-1, Brunson 1-1), Iowa 7-15 (Meyer 4-9, Sevillian 2-3, Doyle 1-3). Team fouls: Minnesota 29, Iowa 15. Fouled out: Edwards, Fernstrom, Bell. Rebounds: Minnesota 42 (Bello 12), Iowa 41 (Gustafson 15). Assists: Minnesota 3 (Bell 2), Iowa 20 (Doyle 8). Steals: Minnesota 5 (Pitts, Wagner 2), Iowa 8 (Sevillian 4). Turnovers: Minnesota 13, Iowa 12.

Attendance: 6,561.

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

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