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.
— NCAA WBB (@ncaawbb) March 22, 2019
Coverage from Carver:
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.
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)
Up next: The Hawkeyes will host No. 7-seed Missouri in the second round Sunday.