Iowa Women's Basketball

Iowa women's basketball on an early hot streak

No. 17 Hawkeyes have made an NCAA-best 62 percent from the floor

Iowa’s Hannah Stewart (21) protects the ball from Oral Roberts’ Rylie Torrey (21) during their game Nov. 9. Stewart is averaging 16.5 points per game and combines with all-American Megan Gustafson to give the Hawkeyes a formidable frontcourt. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa’s Hannah Stewart (21) protects the ball from Oral Roberts’ Rylie Torrey (21) during their game Nov. 9. Stewart is averaging 16.5 points per game and combines with all-American Megan Gustafson to give the Hawkeyes a formidable frontcourt. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Yes, Megan Gustafson said. She will miss a shot again.

“I promise,” she said. “I expect to make every shot, but that’s not realistic.”

Even by Gustafson’s lofty standards, she’s on a tear. Her 13-for-13 masterpiece at Western Kentucky on Tuesday lifted her field-goal rate to 77.4 percent.

She’s not alone in her early-season accuracy. Sure, the sample size is extremely small, but the 17th-ranked Iowa women’s basketball team sits at No. 1 in the nation in field-goal percentage at .620.

Gustafson (24 of 31), Hannah Stewart (14 of 20), Amanda Ollinger (5 of 7) and Zion Sanders (3 of 3) are part of the .700-plus club.

“It’s a lot easier to shoot when you’re in rhythm, and all of the assists we’ve had so far, that puts you in rhythm,” Ollinger said.

The Hawkeyes (2-0) host North Carolina Central (0-3) with a 7 p.m. tipoff Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We’re coming off a really good road win (104-67 at Western Kentucky), and now we’re trying to get our focus back,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said.

“We’re playing somebody we haven’t played before, and we’re trying to get our heads on right.”

Focus is one thing, but here’s the reality: Iowa is vastly superior to the Eagles, who have opened the season with double-digit losses to High Point, Elon and Winthrop.

The Hawkeyes’ aim is to keep doing what they’ve been doing.

“Our performance at Western Kentucky, I’d like to replicate that over and over and over again,” Bluder said.

Gustafson is averaging 26 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, despite logging just 28.5 minutes per contest.

Makenzie Meyer is adding 17.0 points per game, Stewart 16.5, Alexis Sevillian 14.5, Tania Davis 9.0.

“(Stewart’s start) just makes me smile,” Bluder said. “She has been such a great, positive leader. She’s got this opportunity, and she is taking full advantage.

“With Megan and Hannah, I think we have one of the best post combinations in the country.”

Iowa received national letters of intent Wednesday from Megan Meyer (Makenzie’s sister, from Mason City), Gabbie Marshall (Mason, Ohio) and McKenna Warnock (Marshall, Wis.).

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

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