GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Iowa Hawkeyes will be playing April basketball.
Eighth-ranked Iowa answered a third-quarter flurry by No. 10 North Carolina State and won Saturday’s regional semfinal of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, 79-61, at Greensboro Coliseum.
The Hawkeyes (29-6) advance to face No. 1 Baylor or No. 18 South Carolina in a regional final at 6 p.m. CT Monday. The winner moves on to the Final Four April 5-7 at Tampa, Fla.
Iowa is in the Elite Eight for the fourth time, the first since its Final Four season of 1993. The Hawkeyes’ 29 wins match a program best; the 1987-88 team went 29-2.
Megan Gustafson registered 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Hawkeyes. Hannah Stewart had a double-double of her own — 16 and 10 — and Tania Davis netted 10 points and six assists.
North Carolina State (28-6) carved a 13-point halftime deficit to 43-38, But Alexis Sevillian turned the tide with a right-baseline 3-pointer. Gustafson scored from inside on the next possession to rebuild the lead to 10, and Iowa was back in control, 56-44, by the end of the period.
Sevillian struck again from deep to give the Hawkeyes their largest lead of the game, 63-46.
The Hawkeyes put together an eight-point run late in the first quarter for a 16-9 lead. Gustafson didn’t score until hitting a pair of free throws at the 2:38 mark, then added a basket shortly thereafter.
The margin grew to 26-14 at the 7:37 mark of the second period, prompting a Wolfpack timeout. Kathleen Doyle converted a steal into a basket, then Davis drilled a corner 3-pointer to extend the lead to 12.
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A pair of free throws from Gustafson gave the Hawkeyes a 30-16 advantage, and the Hawkeyes matched it twice more in the first half. It was 37-24 at intermission.
Kiara Leslie paced North Carolina State with 16 points. Elissa Cunane added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
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