IOWA CITY — The Iowa Hawkeyes suffered their first women’s basketball loss of the season Wednesday night.
But in the press room afterward, it didn’t really feel like a loss.
“We did lose, but only by one point,” junior post Megan Gustafson said after 11th-ranked Florida State outlasted the Hawkeyes, 94-93, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. “We can beat anybody in the country right now.
“I know we’re heartbroken, but we’re going to come back stronger than ever.”
Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said, “I think there’s a lot we can gain from this game. We led the No. 11 team for almost 31 minutes.”
The Hawkeyes (7-1) are back at it Sunday, with a 2 p.m. tipoff against Samford (3-4) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
It’s the last warmup before the Hawkeyes begin their in-state tour Wednesday, when they travel to Iowa State.
Gustafson poured in 34 points against Florida State, upping her season average to 22.9 points per game to go with 12.9 rebounds per contest and a 70.5-percent accuracy rate from the field.
She ranks in the top 12 in the nation in all three of those categories, plus double-doubles (seven).
Thursday, Gustafson was named to the Naismith Award list.
“We didn’t have an answer for her,” Florida State Coach Sue Semrau said Wednesday.
“She’s so efficient, and when you surround her with shooters all around, they’re really tough to defend.”
The Hawkeyes have moved to No. 1 in the nation in assists per game (24.9), and also rank in the top 10 in field-goal percentage (.523), free-throw percentage (.807) and points per game (88.1).
Redshirt freshman Alexis Sevillian adds 13.4 points per game, followed by Tanis Davis (11.1) and Makenzie Meyer (10.5).
Samford improved to 3-4 after a 58-51 win over Central Florida on Thursday.
Hannah Nichols, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, leads the Bulldogs at 16.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
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