2019 NCAA TOURNAMENT

Iowa vs. Mercer: NCAA Tournament final score, stats, highlights

Iowa (27-6) narrowly avoided becoming for the first No. 2-seed to ever lose to a No. 15-seed in the first round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

The Hawkeyes held off Mercer (25-8) in Friday's first-round game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 66-61.

Coverage from Carver:

» Iowa finds a way to advance in NCAA women's basketball tournament

» Recap: Iowa fights off Mercer in NCAA Tournament first round

Turning point: Down 60-59, Mercer leading scorer KeKe Calloway had an open jumper that would have given the Bears the lead. But it hit the front of the rim, and Iowa's Kathleen Doyle fired a pass ahead to Hannah Stewart for an open layup and three-point lead. After Calloway got Mercer within one, Stewart drove hard to the basket for another key score, and Doyle knocked down 2 of 2 free throws with 8.9 seconds to go. The Bears missed six of their last seven shots and were just 4 of 18 in the fourth quarter as Iowa hung on.

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MVP: Megan Gustafson is the obvious choice. The Iowa center showed why she's ESPN's national player of the year with a 30-point, 16-rebound performance. She made 14 of 16 field goals.

Key stat 63.6. The Hawkeyes made 13 of their 24 field-goal attempts in the second half. Sounds like a rout, right? Well, Iowa also turned it over 24 times. That will have to be cleaned up if a deep NCAA Tournament run is in store.

Stat leaders:

Points: Megan Gustafson, Iowa (30); KeKe Calloway, Mercer (21)

Rebounds: Megan Gustafson, Iowa (16); Rachel Selph, Mercer (8)

Assists: Tania Davis, Hannah Stewart, Kathleen Doyle, Iowa (4); Amanda Thompson, Mercer (7)

Steals: Tania Davis, Iowa (1); Amanda Thompson, Mercer (6)

Blocks: Makenzie Meyer, Megan Gustafson, Iowa (1); Shannon Titus, Mercer (2)

3-Pointers: Makenzie Meyer, Iowa (5-7); KeKe Calloway, Mercer (5-14)

» Box score

Up next: The Hawkeyes will host No. 7-seed Missouri in the second round Sunday.

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