Iowa women's basketball heading back to high school for Northwestern game

Sunday's game will be played at Evanston Township H.S.

Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (10) puts up a shot between three Penn State players during the Hawkeyes’ 80-76 win Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa is at Northwestern on Sunday; the game will be at Evanston Township High School. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (10) puts up a shot between three Penn State players during the Hawkeyes’ 80-76 win Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa is at Northwestern on Sunday; the game will be at Evanston Township High School. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — For the fourth time this season, the University of Iowa women’s basketball team is going back to high school.

The Hawkeyes (19-6 overall, 7-5 Big Ten) take their three-game win streak to Evanston, Ill., Sunday.

But it won’t be at Welsh-Ryan Arena on the Northwestern campus.

Instead, the game — like all of the Northwestern women’s games this season — will be played at Evanston Township High School.

Tipoff is 2 p.m.

Iowa has had success in high-school gymnasiums this season, going 3-0 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nov. 22-25 after the Puerto Rico Challenge was moved there.

“I’m certainly going to remind (the team) of that,” Coach Lisa Bluder said. “It will be a similar atmosphere.”

Evanston Township High is the temporary home for the Wildcat women while Welsh-Ryan gets a $110 million facelift.

Welsh-Ryan had been good to the Hawkeyes recently. Iowa has won five straight at Evanston, 13 of its last 14.

But there’s still a score to settle with the Wildcats (9-16, 2-9), who ousted Iowa from the Big Ten tournament last year in the quarterfinals.

This is a different NU team, though. An inexperienced team.

“They start two freshmen and two sophomores,” Bluder said. “They’ve been inconsistent. But by Game 25, the freshmen aren’t going to be so young any more.”

Iowa won its third straight Thursday, holding off Penn State, 80-76.

Megan Gustafson posted her 23rd double-double this season (and the 50th of her career) with 33 points and 14 rebounds, and also added a career-high seven assists.

Most of those went in the direction of frontcourt mate Chase Coley, who chipped in a career-high 24 points.

“They really destroyed that trap, and they had a lot of fun doing it,” Bluder said. “People are going to see the seven assists, and they’re going to be a little more nervous about trapping her.”

Gustafson has 621 points this season. Iowa’s season record is 672, set by Cindy Haugejorde in 1979-80. The junior needs 26 rebounds to match the season record of 343 that she set last season.

After Sunday’s game, the Hawkeyes will have a midweek bye before hosting Wisconsin on Feb. 18.

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

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