Iowa Women's Basketball

Iowa, Ohio State seek bounceback

Megan Gustafson, Kelsey Mitchell are Big Ten POY candidates

Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (3) battles with Iowa’s Chase Coley (4) for possession during a game Feb. 11, 2016. One of the nation’s top scorers of all time, Mitchell makes her Carver finale Thursday, when the 14th-ranked Buckeyes face No. 25 Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (3) battles with Iowa’s Chase Coley (4) for possession during a game Feb. 11, 2016. One of the nation’s top scorers of all time, Mitchell makes her Carver finale Thursday, when the 14th-ranked Buckeyes face No. 25 Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — What, exactly, is coming to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday?

Is it a team absorbed in unaccustomed self-questioning and doubt?

Or is it an angry team ready to unleash some frustration?

No. 14 Ohio State (16-4 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) was drilled, 99-69, at Maryland on Monday and comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a women’s basketball game against No. 25 Iowa (15-5, 3-4) on a two-game skid.

Tipoff is 7 p.m. Thursday.

It’s a matchup of two of the frontrunners for player of the year — OSU’s Kelsey Mitchell and Iowa’s Megan Gustafson.

Mitchell is one of the most prolific players ever to play the game. She ranks No. 8 in NCAA history with 3,036 career points. She’s No. 1 in 3-pointers (442).

“I can’t think of anybody better (that I’ve coached against) off the top of my head,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “As explosive as she is ... she’s amazing.”

“She’s an amzing player, one of the best scorers in the country,” added Hannah Stewart. “On the other hand, so is Megan.”

Gustafson has posted 19 double-doubles this season, including a current streak of 12 in a row. She is averaging 23.6 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.

“I think Megan needs to be in that conversation (for Big Ten player of the year),” Bluder said, who also mentioned Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty as a challenger for Mitchell, who won the award in 2015 and 2017.

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Iowa has dropped three straight games, at home against Purdue, then on the road against Nebraska and Minnesota.

“We got off to such a positive start,” Stewart said. “We still know we’re good. This is a bump in the road. We learned that we’re human.”

Six of Iowa’s last nine games are at Carver.

“We can still do good things,” Gustafson said. “Hard work is going to pay off eventually.”

On Sunday, Makenzie Meyer saw her first action in three weeks after suffering a broken hand. She played 39 minutes, scoring four points.

Ohio State has beaten the Hawkeyes four straight times, dating back to 2014-15.

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

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