Iowa Women's Basketball

Behind Megan Gustafson, Iowa sweeps the state again

Iowa's All-American scores 44 in 91-82 victory at Drake

DES MOINES — Sara Rhine called Megan Gustafson “a beast in the paint.”

A sufficient compliment, to be sure. How’s this one?


She finished plays. She finished the game, with 19 fourth-quarter points and 30 in the second half.

And she provided a big exclamation point in Iowa’s bid to repeat as undisputed women’s basketball state champions.

Gustafson exploded for 44 points and 14 rebounds as 15th-ranked Iowa pulled away late to defeat Drake, 91-82, before a crowd of 6,107 Friday night at the Knapp Center.

“My teammates are looking for me to finish,” Gustafson said after the Hawkeyes concluded their non-conference schedule at 9-2. “I was doing the best I could do to set myself up, have good footwork and seal myself.”

The nation’s most accurate shooter from the field, Gustafson converted 17 of 24 attempts Friday, including 11 of 13 after halftime. She was 10 of 14 from the free-throw line.

After a 14-point first half, she went, well, beast mode.

Drake (8-4) took its final lead, 63-61, on Rhine’s two free throws with 3:26 left in the third quarter. Then Gustafson scored the next five points as Iowa regained the upper hand.

It was 70-70 after Maddie Monahan’s 3-pointer with 8:30 left in the game. The rest of the contest belonged to Gustafson and the Hawkeyes.


“They didn’t have an answer for her,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “She can catch just about any pass, and that’s one reason we had 24 assists tonight.”

The Hawkeyes swept their three in-state foes (Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Drake) for the second consecutive season. It looked like it would be easy early on; Iowa made 11 of its first 12 shots on its way to a 26-10 advantage with 6 1/2 minutes elapsed.

Drake rallied immediately behind Becca Hittner, scoring 17 straight points to take its first lead at 27-26. The rest of the half was a back-and-forth affair, with the Bulldogs taking a 45-43 lead into intermission.

“We understand basketball is a game of runs,” Iowa’s Tania Davis said. “We came out hot, came out swinging, then they punched right back at us.”

“We didn’t start well, but I loved the way we came back,” Drake Coach Jennie Baranczyk said.

Hittner scored a career-high 32 points to lead Drake, including 23 in the first half.

Bluder implemented only seven players Friday, and the starters accounted for all 91 of Iowa’s points. Davis and Hannah Stewart added 14 apiece, Makenzie Meyer scored 10, and Kathleen Doyle nine points and eight assists.

Gustafson’s 44-point eruption — the second-biggest of her career — sent her career total to 2,094. She moved past Cindy Huagejorde to No. 2 on the school’s all-time scoring list. Next up is Ally Disterhoft, who scored 2,102 in a career that ended in 2017.

She should catch and pass Disterhoft when the Hawkeyes open Big Ten play Dec. 30 at Michigan State.

Maddy Dean added 15 for Drake. Rhine scored 14, Sammie Bachrodt 13.

Rhine, the Bulldogs’ top scorer this season, was in foul trouble most of the way.

“It’s a lot easier to guard her when she’s on the bench,” Bluder said.


The two-time defending Missouri Valley Conference champion, Drake begins MVC action Jan. 4 at Bradley.


At Des Moines

IOWA (91): Megan Gustafson 17-24 10-14 44, Hannah Stewart 5-7 4-4 14, Makenzie Meyer 3-7 2-2 10, Tania Davis 6-10 0-0 14, Kathleen Doyle 3-9 1-2 9, Alexis Sevillian 0-2 0-0 0, Amanda Ollinger 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 34-61 17-22 91.

DRAKE (82): Sara Rhine 5-8 3-3 14, Maddie Monahan 1-4 0-0 3, Becca Hittner 12-21 4-6 32, Maddy Dean 6-13 0-0 15, Sammie Bachrodt 3-8 4-4 13, Brenni Rose 0-3 0-0 0, Allie Wooldridge 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Fuller 0-1 1-4 1, Nicole Miller 1-2 2-2 4, Monica Burich 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 28-61 14-21 82.

Halftime: Drake 45, Iowa 43. 3-point goals: Iowa 6-17 (Meyer 2-6, Davis 2-4, Doyle 2-5, Sevillian 0-2), Drake 12-34 (Rhine 1-2, Monahan 1-4, Hittner 4-10, Dean 3-8, Bachrodt 3-8, Rose 0-2). Team fouls: Iowa 20, Drake 21. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Iowa 36 (Gustafson 14), Drake 31 (Hittner, Bachrodt, Rose 5). Assists: Iowa 24 (Doyle 8), Drake 20 (Rose 4). Steals: Iowa 7 (Doyle 3), Drake 6 (Bachrodt 2). Turnovers: Iowa 13, Drake 17.

Attendance: 6,107.

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